I was reading about the Robot Operating System ROS, and in particular the 2014 ROS.org article ROS running on ISS and wondering if the Robonaut is being actively tested on the ISS.

Do they take it out, turn it on, and let it roam around from time to time?

According to this answer, there were some initial tests and some problems about two years ago. Has there been any change of status since then?

ROS was delivered to ISS aboard a SpaceX rocket as part of a recent resupply mission that also included a set of robotic legs that will be attached to R2 soon.

NASA was able to upgrade the R2 torso earlier this month after on-orbit surgery to remove old processors and electronics and install new ones. On August 12, R2 powered up using ROS for the first time.

As we mentioned in a prior post, the R2 team at JSC has been using ROS for R2 development on Earth for the last couple of years. They combine ROS with OROCOS RTT to produce a flexible development environment with real-time capabilities.

As a side note, there was a ROS Robonaut Simulator package at one point (see also here) that you could run at home, but I am not sure this is still an active project.

below: From here.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ The best way I know of to keep up with R2 is by searching the (usually updated daily) ISS On-orbit Status Reports for "robonaut". blogs.nasa.gov/stationreport/?s=robonaut As of last month, it is having power supply problems. This is probably a made-up excuse by the crew to keep from having to look at its super creepy legs spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/009/140416robonaut/r2_400533.jpg :) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble If that's what "getting one's space legs" means, I'll pass. Although, some adaptations would be useful for sure; thinking of Sithandra's mods in Aeon Flux: i.sstatic.net/XqJKv.jpg $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble I would have chosen this configuration instead, then just gotten rid of the anthropomorphic part and gone with four legs and a box. i.sstatic.net/lk6IA.jpg But that's just me. I'm sure there was a plan behind the deliberate anthropomorphicity. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


As of March 4, 2018, it appears that they are mailing Robonaut home!

Robonaut: The crew prepared and stowed Robonaut in preparation for return on SpaceX-14. Robonaut is a humanoid robot designed with the versatility and dexterity to manipulate hardware, work in high risk environments, and respond safely to unexpected obstacles. It is comprised of a torso with two arms and a head, and two legs with end effectors that enable the robot to translate inside the ISS by interfacing with handrails and seat tracks.


Rationale can be found here

For the last several years, Robonaut has been almost entirely disabled, and publicly available ISS status reports show that the last time the robot completed a full research task was December of 2013. This week, NASA announced that it is bringing Robonaut back to Earth to be fixed.

  • $\begingroup$ So it's not going to end up like this any time soon? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ The IEEE Spectrum article makes it sound like it's the creepy legs that broke it. Not surprised, they were clearly demonic. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 15:29

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