In Photos: Robonaut 2, NASA's Robot Butler for Astronauts

The space shuttle Discovery delivered a humanoid robot helper called Robonaut 2 to the International Space Station.
The space shuttle Discovery delivered a humanoid robot helper called Robonaut 2 to the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)

Robonaut 2 and Gloved Astronaut's Hands


Meet Robonaut 2, NASA's robot helper for space station astronauts. The International Space Station's humanoid robot helper reaches out to touch a gloved astronaut hand in a photo that pays tribute to Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling painting.

Master and Servant


Robonaut 2, a dexterous, humanoid astronaut helper, flew to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission. Although initially only used in operational tests, upgrades could eventually allow the robot to realize its true purpose — helping spacewalking astronauts with tasks outside the space station.

Robonaut 2 Gets Legs

NASA/Steve Swanson via Instagram

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson poses with the robot Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station after completing an upgrade that gave the robot legs.



Robonaut on the International Space Station.

NASA's humanoid robot Robonaut 2


The handlers of the space agency robot had some fun with it on the run up to the Super Bowl 2017. Watch it make some of the ref’s signals.

First View From Space By Robonaut 2


The first view recorded by the camera eyes of Robonaut 2, a robot helper on the International Space Station, during the first tests of the droid on Aug. 22, 2011 during the Expedition 28 mission.

Robonaut 2 Is Alive In Space


Space station astronaut Mike Fossum of NASA talks to Mission Control after working on the Robonaut 2 helper droid on the International Space Station on Aug. 22, 2011, during the robot's first tests.

What Am I?


NASA's Robonaut 2 strikes a post atop its new wheeled base, Centaur 2, at the Johnson Space Center Planetary Analog Test Site in Houston. The Centaur base builds off of lessons learned through the Space Exploration Vehicle, a rover for astronauts, and could allow the dexterous humanoid robot to help with the future exploration of distant planetary surfaces.

Robonaut 2 Flexes New Legs


NASA's Robonaut 2 flexes its newly built legs in this still from this video demonstration of the robot's capabilities released Dec. 9, 2013. Now watch Robonaut 2 dance a waltz to "Blue Danube".

Robonaut 2 Set Free on Space Station


NASA astronaut Cady Coleman (right) and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli proudly display the newest resident of the International Space Station, the humanoid Robonaut 2 robot, to cameras on March 15, 2011.

Open the Box!


Astronaut Paolo Nespoli writes, "Robonaut in its crate gets moved from PMM to the Lab. We’ll unpack it later, unless it takes over the ISS earlier!"

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.