Russia just sent a creepy, humanoid robot to the space station

This is fine.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Jackson Ryan Former Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Amanda Kooser
Jackson Ryan
2 min read

There is nothing to worry about.


If the robopocalypse ever breaks out on Earth, at least the residents of the International Space Station should be safe. Or will they? Russian space agency Roscomos has just launched Skybot F-850, an unsettling, humanoid robot, as a shipment to the ISS. 

Don't worry. This is totally fine. 

Skybot's nickname is Fedor. He's probably best known for starring in a Russian video in 2017 while wielding two handguns like a robo-Clint Eastwood. He has his own Twitter account, which delivers tweets in Russian from the robot's perspective. Somehow this comes off as more menacing than cute. You can check out Fedor in action in a video showing the robot moving in response to his human operator.

On August 21, the Cylon-like Skybot was packaged up tightly inside a Russian Soyuz MS-14 capsule, holding a Russian flag, as it launched for the space station. Dark fantasies of the murderbot turning up and assuming control of the station aside, this is an important launch for the Russian space agency. It marks the first flight of an upgraded Soyuz capsule on the Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle, which will eventually takeover crewed launches to the station. 

Fedor's space experience is likely to be fairly brief. He is expected to reach the space station on Aug. 24 and the robot is scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 7, with the Soyuz capsule, according to NASA. 

Roscosmos director general Dmitry Rogozin tweeted a pretty fab promo video for Fedor's journey, complete with a soundtrack reminiscent of an '80s action movie.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov are currently on board the station along with astronauts from NASA and ESA. The Russian crew members will greet Fedor and test how the robot works in microgravity. 

Fedor could one day be destined for a career as a space explorer. That is, of course, unless he locks the current residents of the ISS outside of the station with an "I can't let you do that."

Meet Boston Dynamics' weird and wonderful robot family

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Originally posted Aug. 16
Updated Aug. 21: Adds additional launch information.