Human and humanoid robot shake hands in space 1st

February 15, 2012 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
The Robonaut 2.

Astronauts and robots have united in space with a healthy handshake.

The commander of the , Daniel Burbank, shook hands Wednesday with Robonaut. It's the first handshake ever between a human and a in space.

NASA's Robonaut was launched aboard last February. Crews have been testing it to see how it one day might help astronauts perform space station chores.

On Wednesday, ground controllers activated computer software that enabled the robot to extend its right hand, fingers outstretched. Burbank took the mechanical hand and pumped it up and down, as the robot's fingers tightened around his hand.

"The first human-humanoid handshake in space," Burbank proclaimed.

A cheer went up in the control room in Huntsville, Ala.

"For the record, it was a firm handshake," Burbank radioed. "Quite an impressive robot."

Robonaut - the first humanoid in space, built from the waist up - said via that it was an awesome experience, then followed up with some sign language.

"The handshake was definitely one of the highlights of the day, but I'm not done yet," Robonaut said in a tweet. (A NASA spokeswoman actually files the under the handle AstroRobonaut.)

"Did you catch that? I don't have a voice, but I sent you a message -- Hello world ... in sign language!" Robonaut tweeted. "What a day! I passed my tests with flying colors!!!"

Dutch space station astronaut Andre Kuipers couldn't resist a little robot humor.

"Now let's hope he's never heard of HAL9000, Skynet or Cylons," Kuipers wrote in a tweet.

HAL was the conspiring computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey." The people-hating Skynet is from the "Terminator" films, while Cylons are cyber-warriors from "Battleship Gallactica."

spends most of its time in hibernation aboard the space station. The astronauts bring the humanoid out every so often for testing; it was awakened in space last August and made its first motion in October. A future model could venture outside for spacewalks, saving its human companions time and keeping them safe.

Explore further: NASA's First Robotic Crew Member To Tweet From Space Station

More information: NASA:


Related Stories

NASA's First Robotic Crew Member To Tweet From Space Station

August 2, 2010

( -- NASA's Robonaut 2 has no voice but is ready to tell you its story -- in 140 characters or less. The prototype robot will travel to space this fall to give NASA a deeper understanding of human-robotic interaction.

Image: Face-Off

November 2, 2010

Robonaut 2, a dexterous, humanoid astronaut helper, will fly to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission.

NASA's humanoid robot unveiled on space station

March 16, 2011

The first humanoid robot ever launched into space is finally free. Astronauts at the International Space Station unpacked Robonaut on Tuesday, 2 1/2 weeks after its arrival via shuttle Discovery. NASA broadcast the humorous ...

Recommended for you

Hubble captures a galactic waltz

November 26, 2015

This curious galaxy—only known by the seemingly random jumble of letters and numbers 2MASX J16270254+4328340—has been captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope dancing the crazed dance of a galactic merger. The ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.