Nick Collins
January 9, 2013

But the C3PO lookalike, the first humanoid robot in space, has spent almost two years orbiting the Earth while learning to perform tasks which are more suited to machines than human crew members.

Robonaut 2 – nicknamed R2 in a nod to the Star Wars trilogy – was launched in February 2011 on the last flight of NASA’s Discovery space shuttle.

It began work last March, practicing some of the duller or more dangerous jobs which astronauts hope it will carry out on their behalf, and was pictured on Wednesday during another round of testing.

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