'Robonaut 2, or R2 for short, will be the first human-like robot to become a permanent resident at the space station when it arrives on a shuttle mission slated to September. The robot consists of a head and torso with two arms and two hands.
The dexterous robot not only resembles a human, but is specifically designed to operate like one. With the help of advanced control, sensor and vision technologies, R2 is built to use its arms and hands to operate the same tools that station astronauts use.
In the future, the greatest benefits of humanoid robots in space may be as assistants or stand-ins for astronauts during spacewalks or for other tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for humans, NASA scientists said.
"The project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles," said John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ...'
And then there's the X-37:
'The Boeing X-37 Advanced Technology Demonstrator is an unpiloted demonstration spaceplane that is intended to test future launch technologies while in orbit and during atmospheric reentry. It is a reusable robotic spacecraft that is a 120 percent–scaled derivative of the X-40A. The X-37 had its first flight as a drop test on April 7, 2006 at Edwards AFB. The spacecraft will be launched as a United States Air Force mission, rather than a NASA mission, in April 2010.'
Debka says that mission is slated for this Thursday:
'Blastoff of the unmanned X-37B space plane from Kennedy Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Space Center was delayed until Thursday, April 22, to allow Discovery to return to earth at the nearby Kennedy Space Center. With many of its features kept secret, the project has sparked speculation that the little Orbital Test Vehicle is the space version of the US Predator drone.'
Well, sure. Robots in space! Better yet, heavily armed robotic spacecraft!
I mean, what could go wrong?