There’s already been one humanoid robot deployed to the International Space Station, but it’s goal has been research. When Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives in 2016, he’ll be bringing along a small robot not as much as a helper but as a little robot friend.
A consortium of companies is constructing two doll-like robots that speak Japanese, recognize faces and perform simple experiment tasks. One will fly to the space station next year, while the other will stay on the ground as a backup.
The humanoid robot will live in the station’s Japanese Kibo module. It doesn’t even have a name yet, but the public is being asked for suggestions on a Japanese website.