Science Scope

New age of satellite repair: Meet Justin, the space robot

Posting in Aerospace

Justin is a space robot that can fix satellites or destroy them if they don't work. He's the jack of all trades.

Justin, the humanoid robot, is now learning to fix satellites. Born out of the German Aerospace Center's Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, Justin has come a long way from his coffee making days.

The space version of the robot doesn't have wheels or legs. Justin can do its job of repairing or refueling satellites with just a head, torso, and arms, reports IEEE Spectrum.

But Justin still needs a human brain to function — remotely, of course. The robot's head has two cameras, so the operator on Earth can see what's going on with stereoscopic vision. And sensors in the robot's hands allow the person to sense what Justin is touching from afar.

Justin sort of resembles NASA's Robonaut. While they both are operated from Earth and their main goal in life is to fix equipment, Robonaut only has a torso and is destined to fix the International Space Station.

However, Justin is more of a handy robot: It can be mounted to its own satellite, which gives it more freedom to move around to fix satellites or to destroy dangerous space junk if it needs to.

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure