7 Jun 2019 14:53

Soyuz spaceship's hatch too tight for FEDOR robot

MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) - The shoulders of Russia's FEDOR humanoid robot, which is due to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on board the Soyuz MS-14 spaceship in August, are being narrowed, a source in the aerospace industry told Interfax.

"FEDOR is preparing to travel by Soyuz MS-14. It will be an unmanned, experimental mission, so the robot being sent to space as a crewmember seems reasonable," the source said.

As the Energia Corporation said earlier, a Soyuz-2.1a rocket will propel Soyuz MS-14 into space in August 2019. The flight will be unmanned, and a much bigger payload will be carried due to the absence of certain life-sustenance systems.

The unmanned Soyuz-MS is not a new modification of the spaceship, Energia said.

"This Soyuz-MS differs from the regular, serial ship by a modernized movement and navigation system and a number of improved apparatuses. It is our task to test the system and to verify the ship's integration with the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle," Energia quoted its General Designer Yevgeny Mikrin as saying.

The source told Interfax that FEDOR had passed the spacecraft's chair fit check.

"It has passed the fit check and is being upgraded, considering that it can only squeeze through the hatch with difficulty. Cosmonauts will have to carry the robot from the spacecraft into the International Space System without any supporting devices in zero gravity," the source said.

It appeared that the robot's "shoulders are too broad, so it will be modernized to fit the established parameters," he said.

Additionally, Roscosmos sets strict requirements for its scientific equipment, which FEDOR is part of, so it must comply with flight safety regulations.

"There will be a series of trials before it goes to the ISS. It won't just sit on the chair, buckle up, and go into space. All of its systems will be powered by elements which are cleared for being used in space," the source said.

Roscosmos Manned Programs Executive Director Sergei Krikalyov confirmed the pending inaugural flight of the humanoid robot to the ISS on Monday.

It was reported earlier that FEDOR would be participating in flights of the future spacecraft Federatsiya.

The experimental mission will check the operation of the robot's systems.