Russia sends robot into space to test out new booster rocket
In this photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, and distributed by Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service, the Russian Progress 73 cargo ship blasts off from the launch pad at Russia's space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. (Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service photo via AP)
MOSCOW -- Russia has sent a humanoid robot to the International Space Station as part of tests on a new rocket that is expected to replace the current vehicle.
The Soyuz capsule, which typically carries a space crew, blasted off from the Russia-leased launch pad in Kazakhstan at 8.38 a.m. (0338 GMT) on Thursday carrying the Fedor robot. The capsule was launched by a new Soyuz 2.1a rocket which has only been used to launch unmanned vehicles. The new booster rocket is expected to replace the Soyuz-FG rocket next year.
The robot, which was in the commander's seat, holding a small Russian flag in its right hand, sent out a tweet shortly after the orbiting saying that the first part of onboard tests went as planned.