back to article My god, it's full of tsars: A gun-toting Russian humanoid robot is on its way to the International Space Station

The Russian national space agency has strapped a hefty humanoid robot weighing 160kg (353lb) to a rocket and launched it to the International Space Station. At 0338 UTC on Thursday, a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying supplies and science experiments for the ISS. The only …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Pass me the spanner, comrade Fedor

    I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Pass me the spanner, comrade Fedor

      " I'm sorry Dave, you're not my friend anymore, meet Tovarich Fedor".

  2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Great Headline

    Great headline.

    How long have ye been waiting to use it?

    1. jonathan keith
      Pint

      Re: Great Headline

      Indeed - top work, that Sub. Worthy of a

  3. macjules Silver badge

    “Thankfully, it won’t be doing that in space. Instead the bot will be carrying out menial tasks, such as connecting electrical cables, and using tools like screwdrivers and spanners under zero-gravity conditions.”

    A 5’ 11” robot does not need guns: it can just as easily remove bits off squishy humans with a screwdriver.

    1. apalamarchuk
      Facepalm

      What about drills? Does it have access to drills? Get popcorn for the second part of the "hole in ISS" story.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Having suffered through Disney's The Black Hole, I recommend a pair of blender blades.

  4. DougS Silver badge
    Devil

    You sure that robot is Russian

    A pistol in each hand makes me think he's Texan!

    1. LewisRage

      Re: You sure that robot is Russian

      John Woo would disagree.

      In slow motion whilst jumping sideways through a plate glass window past a pair of white doves in the foreground.

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: You sure that robot is Russian

        "In slow motion whilst jumping sideways through a plate glass window past a pair of white doves in the foreground."

        Don't forget "While dropping more spent casings than a belt fed machine gun."

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: You sure that robot is Russian

          And squibs exploding everywhere. So very many squibs.

          Sometimes I wonder if self-restraint killed John Woo's parents, and he's embarked on a lifelong quest for revenge.

    2. tony2heads

      Re: You sure that robot is Russian

      Have you seen the FPSRussia youtube channel!!

      ( I know he isn't really Russian BTW)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real robot

    So it's actually a robot this time, then?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/12/russian_super_robots/

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Real robot

      @AC: "So it's actually a robot this time, then?"

      Back in 1970, there was an urban myth that the Lunokhod 1 Lunar rover was driven by a dwarf on a suicide mission.

      1. Bongwater

        Re: Real robot

        Dude that is both hilarious and depressing at the same time.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

    Yes, like inserting malware into the guidance system, sabotaging experiments, covering the solar panels with a special fluid that gradually turns opaque in the sunlight . . . you know, menial tasks.

    On a side note, anybody wonder why absolutely nothing was said about this launch before it was successful ? Nobody was talking about this a week before launch, and it would have been a great attention-grabber, don't you think ?

    Maybe the Soviet Union still lies in the shadows, ensuring that only good news gets out. It the rocket had failed, we might never have heard about this.

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

      Here's an article about it from two weeks ago:

      http://news.ifmo.ru/en/science/cyberphysics/news/8710/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

        Rah! Rah! Rasputin lover of the Russian queen...

        We all know where this is heading...

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

          Rah! Rah! Rasputin lover of the Russian queen...

          We all know where this is heading... ..... Anonymous Coward

          I respectfully submit no one but a many and almighty few know where the future is headed to or returning from.

          Are we all here one of them, .... a many and almighty few?

          Would that terrorise .... or comfort you?

          Do El Reg know?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

            Wow, AMFM is composing poetry now. Nice!

        2. joeW Silver badge

          Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

          Hopefully into the folk metal cover version by Turisas.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

      Yes, like inserting malware into the guidance system, sabotaging experiments, covering the solar panels with a special fluid that gradually turns opaque in the sunlight . . . you know, menial tasks.

      Do you have a problem with Russians or Russia, Pascal? Why would they do any of the above?

      1. find users who cut cat tail

        Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

        > Why would they do any of the above?

        What kind of question is that? That's what they do. You obviously don't live in Eastern Europe...

        1. iGNgnorr

          Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

          > What kind of question is that? That's what they do. You obviously don't live in Eastern Europe...

          To be fair, neither is ISS.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

      Well I suppose I could just stand in the corner and rust.

    4. Sleep deprived
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "the bot will be carrying out menial tasks"

      I think the ISS crew would be happier with a gun/screwdriver-less robot from Realbotix.

  7. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Too close!

    My thoughts are that Fedor sounds too much like Fagor, the gun-toting autonomous robot in Earthsearch!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Too close!

      Well.. it is all in the name: Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research. The first word sort of gives the hint. The question is "final for who?".

    2. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Too close!

      Or even Fagot, the Devil's assistant in Master i Margarita, which I think would be more appropriate.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too close!

      Given his appearance and that he will be doing "menial tasks" then surely he must be Marvin

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Rise of the Machines? Will Skynet go self-aware at last, and gain mastery of space first?

    Then rain hot death down on squishy and puny humans...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A gun-toting Russian humanoid robot

    in a traditional fashion, it will distribute sweets to kids found onboard. Having blasted their parents and other non-children.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A gun-toting Russian humanoid robot

      So, where was Yul Brynner born?

  10. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Fedor...

    There are worse names for space borne robots.. Like Maximilian, Gort, Ash.. The list goes on.

    1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: Fedor...

      Twiki was a pretty awful name.

      1. TheRealRoland
        Happy

        Re: Fedor...

        bidi bidi bidi you're not a looker yourself!

    2. earl grey Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Fedor...

      Hey, Gort was the good guy. I'll have one (or two), if it brings it's lasery goodness.

  11. LDS Silver badge
    Alien

    Why a umanoid robot in space?

    In a weightless environment you don't really need something designed to be able to cope with obstacles like stairs, and the like. You need something optimized to move in such environment and manipulate things around it - in any direction. An octopus-like design would be more functional, IMHO, albeit probably far more scaring for its human companions....

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

      P.R., of course.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

        A humanoid robot fits spaces designed for humans, no?

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

          A humanoid robot fits spaces designed for humans, no? ... Neil Barnes

          And never discount merely spaces designed by humans for Alien Infiltration, Neil Barnes, .... with Virtually Real Population of Heavenly Perfumed Gardens. And thereafter with such a Creation, to Share and Build Accurate Copies of Them All Way Down Below and on Earth.

          Just follow only the best of enlightening scripts for the greater pictures they paint are almighty engaging and immaculately captivating. And Always the Most Enjoyable and Extremely Exciting Experiences the Perfect Goal to Achieve and/or Aspire to Attain.

          Where would one start to build such a FuturistICQ Society ...... Providing New Spaces for All to Work, Rest and Play in?

          Does the UN have a CyberIntelAIgent Division? Do Nations have Representative Agents Non-State ACTor Factoring in the Field?

          And now y'all know what else can be so easily very quickly done.

          With Everything Available in a SMARTR Open Package Program Forum ..... for Bigger Picture Epics.

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

          A humanoid robot fits spaces designed for humans, no?

          But can it retrieve the ship's cat?

    3. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

      "An octopus-like design would be more functional"

      Maybe if it was autonomous, but this one is a remote controlled avatar designed to mimic the actions of a human operator, so it makes sense if the arms and head are in a humanoid configuration to match the operator's hand-eye coordination.

      1. Lomax

        Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

        > it makes sense if the arms and head are in a humanoid configuration to match the operator's hand-eye coordination

        Absolutely, and that's why our cars, aircraft and boats are all shaped like human bodies. And it's a good thing they put arms and legs on those flying drone things too - how else would we be able to operate them? Not to mention how humanoid submersible ROVs have revolutionised everything from pipeline laying to wreck surveys.

        Have you ever used a pen tablet? Human hand-eye coordination works really rather well in unnatural suitations, given a little bit of practice.

    4. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

      Who said it was built for weightlessness? "ISS-specific robots" is a tiny, insignificant market; I think they just sent it up there for tests and PR (the fact it will only stay there for a short time seems to confirm this), the main use of this robot would be on earth, and humanoid configuration allows it to be as versatile as possible (able to replace similarly configured humans and use their equipment and installations).

      1. Lomax

        Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

        From what I've seen it's just as useless on Earth as it will be in space.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

          Maybe useless to you, but I just happen to have fields full of circular targets in rectangular arrays, and I'm getting pretty tired of shooting 'em myself.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

        " the main use of this robot would be on earth"

        Perhaps the real test is to see if it can survive an unassisted re-entry, land without damage, and still shoot two pistols at once. If so, just imagine how an entire army of them could assist humanity in the future...

      3. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
        Terminator

        Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

        So one last test before they send it looking for Sarah Connor?

  12. msknight Silver badge

    Sounds more like Hector to me

    Saturn 3 was a scary movie and when I saw this robot, Hector immediately sprung to mind.

  13. John Robson Silver badge

    No guns, but a drill?

    As title

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    League table

    Surely someone somewhere's collecting El Reg's greatest headlines / subheads? This needs a slot

  15. Lomax
    Thumb Down

    Pathetic

    From what I've seen of "Fedor" - if indeed it is representative of Russian state of the art robotics - they are decades behind their western and Asian competitors. Just look at Boston Dynamics' two-legged bots running around in snow covered landscapes, more nimbly and steadily than many humans. I haven't been able to find any video of Fedor even talking a single step, and in most footage it is tethered to keep it from falling over. It also seems Fedor has no autonomous capabilities; it's either pre-programmed for specific movements (like the target shooting scene) or remote controlled by a human. Even Aibo was more advanced here. Clearly this is more of a photo opportunity than any major advance in robotics - makes for good headlines(!) and cool looking social media bait, with more than a hint of Russian machismo (there's even a video of Fedor lifting weights in a gym).

    You will know they have advanced beyond childish posturing when their bots stop looking like a prop out of Hardware.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Pathetic

      On the other hand, would you really want to let loose a fully autonomous robot in the cramped confines of the ISS? I would be quite happy that it's remotely controlled or pre-programmed only.

      1. Lomax

        Re: Pathetic

        Agreed. Though I think "fully autonomous" is still some way off, other than for UAVs and AUVs. Too much "stuff" at ground level - not to mention inside a space station :)

    2. Lomax

      Re: Pathetic

      Found a video of Fedor "walking" - judge for yourselves...

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Pathetic

        Yes, when you compare it to the Boston Dynamics offerings, it looks poorly coordinated and probably unable to deal with any uneven terrain.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Pathetic

        Found a video of Fedor "walking" - judge for yourselves...

        Just how much vodka had it drunk before filming?

        1. AceRimmer1980
          Coat

          Re: Pathetic

          Didn't NASA once build a robot that was legless?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pathetic

      What point would a jogging robot have inside a space station?

      Would you make it run on the outside to create a treadmill-induced artificial gravity rotation? Can't see any other point - it's not like it has a lot of room for walkies on the inside.

      1. Lomax
        Facepalm

        Re: Pathetic

        What use would a humaniod robot of any kind have inside a space station? In zero gravity a tripod or quadripod with ducted fans would make a hell of a lot more sense. Substitute the fans for gas ejectors for use outside the space station. The extra limbs would allow the robot to hold on to or push against objects for positioning and leverage, so that it can perform work with another arm. And please don't tell me they need a human shaped robot in order to operate equipment on board; most human interfaces will be connected to a computer anyway, which you do not need a robot to operate - nor do you need to look like the Terminator in order to turn a valve or open a hatch. Fedor makes no sense whatsoever on the ISS. Think about it. I just can't stop laughing at the thought of Fedor trying to move around while floating in zero-G - a whole new definition of totally and utterly useless :D I bet you a zillion spacebucks that it will spend its entire time aboard firmly attached to the spot.

        1. Lomax

          Re: Pathetic

          Fedor is as much a "space robot" as the Tesla sent up by SpaceX is a "space car".

          They are both only good for one sinlge thing in space: publicity.

    4. Tail Up

      Pathetic> 4Upgrade2Esthetic

      You seem to be banned from Google, Lomax. The most interesting will be filmed, ok, for sceptics too, if Fedor aka Skybot F-850 wlould have managed to swipe through the joint hatch and not to break his(!) heart apart because of the first meeting of so different Spacemen outside the Home. That'd be a truly Sure Real United Nations Type Space Joint.

      Sincere thanks to amanfromMars, whos EthiReal Script always sparks ideas from the Per Aspera Ad Astral Continuum, served Hot on a Future Human Care Plate long before it becomes a custom pracrtce.

      Поехали! (C) Yuri Gagarin - First Words Towards

      https://youtu.be/iVSckCIm8V4 PPK - Resurrection (RMX of a soundtrack to 1980's movie Siberiade; composer Eduard Artemyev)

      55 73

      1. Tail Up

        Re: Pathetic> 4Upgrade2Esthetic

        Elon, Richard, you space guys always wanna have something bigger than just kicks, so here it is. KICKS. Get a JSC Fedor, Elon and Richard Co, and I seem to know a man who can help Skybot with AI... and help the whole company, okay, fleshbags may exclude "Artificial" for'emselves, because, and it's designed to not to be sounding offensive, you really look needing a humble upgrade from time to time.

        Get on. I kno this reaches you because first, this is ElReg, second - Mysterious are Ways of the Lord, agree?

        Would be nice if have kicked. Mankind, Womankind, Robokind expects, etc.

        Как вaм такое? (-;

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Pathetic> 4Upgrade2Esthetic

          Hi, Tail Up. All here functioning almost as fully as expected and needed ...... thus to countenance and engage with increased performance energies and synergies in remote alternate foreign alien input/inquiry.

          Spooky Cossack type Knights Templar Territory for Brothers and Sisters, Mothers and Fathers to the Source Force.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, I give it 20 seconds ..

    .. as nobody else has been making this joke :).

    TGIF!

  18. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Rule 34

    How long before some lonely souls imagine spacemen having sex with a robot ?

    And colouring in 'drawings'.

  19. tony2heads
  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Menial tasks

    Nah, it has the "Three Laws".

    Note: I am not sure what would happen if the robot detected someone onboard doing anything bad, would it "restrain" them to prevent a worse situation?

  21. jake Silver badge

    It's all in the name ...

    ... "Skybot F-850 - nicknamed Fedor for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research".

    Since when did the Russians name their projects in English?

    It's obviously propaganda, and like most propaganda it's useless bullshit.

  22. hatti

    Thinking of Mars Attacks

    We come in peace.

    BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

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