NASA's humanoid robot has finally awakened in space.
Ground controllers turned Robonaut on Monday for the first time since it was delivered to the International Space Station in February. The test involved sending power to all of Robonaut's systems. The robot was not commanded to move; that will happen next week.
"Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind," Robonaut posted in a Twitter update. (All right, so a Robonaut team member actually posted Monday's tweets under AstroRobonaut.)
Robonaut — the first humanoid robot in space — is being tested as a possible astronaut's helper. The robot was delivered on space shuttle Discovery's final flight. It took this long for the operating software to get up there, and for the astronauts to have enough time to help with the experiment.
The robot's handlers at Mission Control in Houston cheered as everything came alive. "It was just very exciting," said deputy project manager Nicolaus Radford. "It's been a long time coming to get this thing turned on."
For now, Robonaut exists from the waist up. It measures 3 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 330 pounds. Each arm is 2 feet 8 inches long. A pair of legs currently are being designed and should be launched in 2013.