back to article Space robot goes operational at ISS

Dextre, the mighty tonne-and-a-half space robot intended for repair and servicing tasks at the International Space Station (ISS), is now fully operational, according to reports. The 12-foot-tall mechanical maintenance man, a product of cutting-edge Canadian space robotics tech, has been fully assembled and is ready for work. …


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  1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Colour me pedantic but...

    Surely something weighing 200lb in microgravity would be a touch too large to move around even by robot? Perhaps what they meant was with a *mass* of 100ish kilos, which up there whould weigh quite a lot less that that?

  2. Michael

    So...there's no need

    to open the pod bay door

  3. Greg


    That is the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Reminds me of the automated construction bays in Conquest: Frontier Wars or similar sci-fi. I would love to be at the controls of that arm.

  4. Ryan

    No weight in space, reg.

    Therefore there are no such 200-pound power units on or near the ISS.

    Unless you mean a really cheap GBP£200 piece of kit from the ESA.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Make it wave, Daddy, make it wave!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    RTFA, 'weight' commenters

    The pound is used as a unit of mass as well as weight/force. The word 'weight' was not used in the article, only by yourselves. Sure, a teeny feeble robot could move 200lb masses in microgravity, but it would not be easy or quick. Do try to focus on the 'smart' part of smartarse.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    who repairs IT when it breaks down? Are there two of them up there?

    Mines the one with the big bubble helmet attached.

  8. Charlie van Becelaere

    I suppose

    Dextre's mate will be Sinistre?

  9. Senor Beavis

    Space robot

    I for one welcome our space-dwelling robotic overlord

  10. Paul Kinsler

    @RTFA, 'weight' commenters

    The pound is NOT a unit of mass as well as force; the "slug" is the unit of mass which weighs one pound at (std) earth gravity. Even quaint imperial units aren't so daft as to confuse force (weight) and mass.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Hmm, a robot on a stick.

    All well and good, but it was the moon on a stick that we wanted.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Actually the US pound was defined in grams by Congress, hence it is absolutely appropriate to use it as a unit of mass - and in fact anyone not using kg is far and away more likely to do that than fiddle around with ridiculous slugs, which did indeed exist but never gained wide currency.

    As for the British pound, I'd refer you to the UK units of measurement regulations of 1995 ( which specify the pound as the imperial unit of mass and make no mention of the slug.

    You carry on with your slugs, mate. The rest of us will use pounds if we aren't using kgs.

  13. ian


    "Actually the US pound was defined in grams by Congress,"

    Take care, U.S. politicians have rarely been awarded Nobel physics prizes. You do know that they tried to redefine pi to be 3.0? They knew it would make computations so much easier if it were a rational number.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

  14. Bounty

    I vote we use the Slug anyways...

    then we can measure the speed it moves at in Snails.

  15. vincent himpe

    now all we need

    is Mandark up there with a bigger arm ....

    When its time to decomission them : just send up DeeDee ...

    'Oooo. What does this button do'

    Mines the one with the Mayor Glory emblem on the back and the wrench in the pocket..

  16. Anonymous Coward

    dangerous pounds

    Your "US" politicians were in fact Indiana state legislators (not federal - that is, US - politicoes). And they didn't try to say pi was 3 either - it was one of several values according to the bill introduced, none of them actually 3 as I recall. The bill was rejected anyway.

    A little knowledge, eh? If the shoe fits ...

    Anyway, if your judgement of units is based on how many Nobel physics prizes have been dished out by those defining, the slug is without recognition. And indeed it never was much used - Britain went to kgs, and Americans tended to use pounds-mass (ultimately referring to grams) - seeing the slug as a little-used "English" unit. Even though the English weren't using it at all.

    If NASA want to talk about an orbital robot heaving pounds of stuff about rather than kilos, they can and they will, and it will make perfect sense to anyone normal.

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