February 16, 2012
Human And Humanoid Perform First Handshake In Space
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Daniel Burbank, current commander of the International Space Station crew, has taken a new step in orbit by becoming the first human to shake hands with a humanoid robot in space.
Burbank shook hands with Robonaut after ground controllers activated computer software that enabled the robot to extend its right hand, fingers outstretched.
"The first human-humanoid handshake in space," Burbank said as the months of testing the Robonaut finally came to an end.
Robonaut, or R2 as it is nicknamed, came aboard the ISS during space shuttle Discovery's final mission last February. Crews have been testing to see how it might help astronauts perform space station chores.
"The handshake was definitely one of the highlights of the day, but I'm not done yet," Robonaut's Twitter feed said on Wednesday.
Astronauts put R2 through a series of tests throughout the week, including force sensor verifications and free range movement demonstrations.
The tests were completed, and the handshake between Burbank and R2 symbolized the start of a new era for humanoids in space.
"For the record, it was a firm handshake, " Burbank said during the event. "Quite an impressive robot."
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