NASA's Valkyrie humanoid robot enters advanced stages of testing (2024)

Our daily news digest will keep you up to date with engineering, science and technology news, Monday to Saturday.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Policies You may unsubscribe at any time.

NASA’s first bipedal humanoid robot, Valkyrie, is undergoing a few of its final testing phases at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

A humanoid, much like Iron Man but constructed from metal and electronics, mimics human walking and appearance. Designed for a diverse array of functions, NASA is exploring if such machines can further space exploration, starting with the Artemis mission, according to Reuters.

Featured Video


  • NASA explains fire experiments on the ISS and why they matter
  • NASA’s humanoid robot heads to Australia for testing
  • IHMC's Nadia: A task-ready humanoid robot with a boxing edge

Valkyrie, named after a prominent female figure in Norse mythology, commands attention with her formidable presence. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches (188 centimeters) and weighing 300 pounds (136 kilograms), NASA is an electric humanoid robot capable of operating in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments.

In July, the humanoid robot underwent testing in Australia to assess its software, generating valuable data and feedback for NASA. These tests aimed to advance remote mobile dexterous manipulation capabilities to enable the remote maintenance of unmanned and offshore energy facilities.

Helping hands

The Johnson Space Center (JSC) Engineering Directorate conceived and constructed NASA’s Valkyrie specifically for participation in the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials. Drawing on the knowledge gained from the creation of Robonaut 2, the Valkyrie team at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) developed and constructed this robot in 15 months. They incorporated enhanced electronics, actuators, and sensing capabilities based on the advancements made in earlier generations of humanoid robots at JSC.

Humanoid robots deployed in space hold the potential to undertake hazardous tasks such as cleaning solar panels or inspecting malfunctioning equipment outside spacecraft. This capability allows astronauts to prioritize exploration and discovery without compromising their safety.

“We’re not trying to replace human crews, we’re just trying to take the dull, dirty, and dangerous work off their plates to allow them to focus on those higher-level activities,” told Shaun Azimi, NASA Dexterous Robotics Team Leader, to Reuters.

NASA has collaborated with robotics firms, including Apptronik based in Austin, Texas, to explore the insights gained from humanoid robots designed for Earthly applications. This collaboration aims to uncover ways in which advancements in terrestrial humanoid robotics can be harnessed to enhance the capabilities of future humanoid robots destined for space missions.

“Valkyrie and other advanced mobile robots can be vital tools in allowing humans to supervise dangerous work remotely and to offload dull and repetitive tasks, enabling humans to work on higher level tasks, including deploying and maintaining robots. These principles apply to both space and Earth, where companies are recognizing the value of human-scale robots,” said a statement from NASA.

Advanced offering

Valkyrie has versatile power options, allowing it to operate from a wall connection or using a custom dual-voltage battery, providing approximately an hour of runtime. When the battery is not in use, it can be substituted with a mass simulator and capacitor, mimicking the mechanical and electrical properties of the battery.

The robot’s head, mounted on a 3 DOF neck, integrates the Carnegie Robotics Multisense SL as the primary perceptual sensor, enhanced for IR structured light point cloud generation, alongside laser and passive stereo methods. Additionally, fore and aft “hazard cameras” embedded in the torso contribute to situational awareness, according to NASA.

The torso accommodates a series of elastic rotary and linear actuators facilitating motion between the torso and pelvis, housing various computer and power facilities. The pelvis, the robot’s base frame, contains three series of elastic rotary actuators for waist and hip rotation joints and IMUs for stability. Valkyrie’s upper arms boast four elastic rotary actuators, each featuring quick disconnects for convenient shipping and servicing.

The simplified humanoid hands, comprising three fingers and a thumb, attach to the forearms, which consist of rotary and linear actuators, allowing for easy disconnection for maintenance. The lower limbs incorporate a series of elastic rotary actuators in the upper legs and a series of elastic linear actuators for ankle movement, emphasizing convenient assembly and serviceability with quick disconnects at the first two leg joints.

NASA hopes that backing Valkyrie’s progress on Earth will yield valuable data and insights that its teams will incorporate into ongoing and future robotics and automation development for space applications.

NASA's Valkyrie humanoid robot enters advanced stages of testing (1)SHOW COMMENT ()NASA's Valkyrie humanoid robot enters advanced stages of testing (2)

For You

Meta challenges Nvidia’s dominance with new AI chips

New quantum material boosts solar cell efficiency to 190%

AI-powered mini soccer star robot falls, gets up to dribble and score

35-gram Hopcopter revolutionizes robotics with its hops and flight

A nasal spray could treat recurrent abnormal heart rhythms at home

Is that a surfboard? NASA captures UFO-like image near the Moon

Scientists use laser light to achieve quantum states at room temperature, a first

Scientists transplant gene-edited pig organ into brain-dead patient

US gifts Ukraine 1000s of Iran-seized weapons

150-year-old fossil mystery solved: Giant Ichthyosaurs ruled ancient European seas

Job Board

NASA's Valkyrie humanoid robot enters advanced stages of testing (2024)


What problems does NASA's Valkyrie humanoid project aim to solve? ›

Valkyrie is an advanced humanoid designed to operate in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments. NASA hopes to eventually send Valkyrie into space, to the moon, and to Mars.

Where is the NASA Valkyrie used? ›

According to the agency, Valkyrie is designed for “damaged or degraded environments” such as natural disaster sites, though NASA developed the robot with a longer-term goal of sending it for off-planet missions.

What is Valkyrie NASA's first bipedal humanoid robot? ›

NASA's Johnson Space Center led a team comprised of numerous partners to develop Valkyrie, NASA's first bipedal humanoid robot. Valkyrie is a 44 degree-of-freedom, series elastic actuator-based robot that draws upon over 18 years of humanoid robotics design heritage.

How much does NASA Valkyrie cost? ›

Valkyrie stands over 6 feet tall, weighs in at 300 pounds, and costs nearly $2 million to produce, making it an intricate and robust robotic structure. The robot's design incorporates a wide range of sensors, cameras and dexterous hands, enabling it to perceive and interact with its environment.

What changes does the humanoid robot want to see in the world? ›


What was NASA's first humanoid robot? ›

Robonaut 2, or R2, in 2011 became the first humanoid robot in space. Robonaut 2 was initially deployed as a torso-only humanoid restricted to a stanchion. The R2 mobility platform was added in 2014, augmenting R2 with two new legs for maneuvering inside the ISS. Work on the first Robonaut began in 1997.

How much does the Valkyrie r5 cost? ›

Meet Valkyrie: She's 6 feet and 2 inches tall, weighs about 300 pounds, and cost $2 million — and one day this humanoid space robot, or more likely her much more advanced descendant, might help humans colonize Mars.

What are robots doing in space? ›

Orbiters, landers and rovers are three common types of space-oriented robots. Increasingly, robots are being used to support the work of astronauts, like repairing machinery mid-flight or delivering AI-powered assistance on demand.

What is the purpose of NASA's Valkyrie humanoid project? ›

Credits: NASA/JSC

As part of a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with Woodside Energy in Perth, Western Australia, NASA plans to use a Valkyrie robot to develop remote mobile dexterous manipulation capabilities to accommodate remote caretaking of uncrewed and offshore energy facilities.

What is the most advanced humanoid robot in the world? ›

Ameca. Ameca is a human robot developed by Engineered Arts and released in 2022. The vendor claims it is “the world's most advanced human-shaped robot.” This humanoid-inspired robot is designed to replicate natural motion and facial expression, although it can't currently walk.

Who built Valkyrie robot? ›

NASA's R5 aka Valkyrie was designed and built by the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Engineering Directorate to compete in the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials.

How tall is NASA's Valkyrie? ›

HOUSTON/AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Standing at 6 feet 2 inches (188 centimeters) tall and weighing 300 pounds (136 kilograms), NASA's humanoid robot Valkyrie is an imposing figure.

What is the most expensive robotic planetary mission? ›

The Viking missions cost $1.06 billion, which, when adjusted for inflation, remain NASA's most expensive robotic planetary science mission of all time. Of this total, more than half ($610 million) was for lander development, $217 million was for the orbiters, and $104 million spent on mission operations through 1982.

Which country's military force has unveiled the artificial intelligence robot Valkyrie for aerial combat? ›

Which country's military force has unveiled the artificial intelligence robot 'Valkyrie' for aerial combat? Notes: The Valkyrie, a next-generation drone, is a prototype, has been introduced by the United States military force.

What is NASA's Valkyrie humanoid? ›

Valkyrie, a name taken from Norse mythology, is designed to be a robust, rugged, entirely electric humanoid robot capable of operating in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments.

What would be one goal of sending humans and robots to the planet Mars? ›

Mars remains our horizon goal for human exploration because it is one of the only other places we know where life may have existed in the solar system. What we learn about the Red Planet will tell us more about our Earth's past and future, and may help answer whether life exists beyond our home planet.

What is the goal of sending robots to Mars? ›

The scientific reasons for going to Mars can be summarised by the search for life, understanding the surface and the planet's evolution, and preparing for future human exploration. Understanding whether life existed elsewhere in the Universe beyond Earth is a fundamental question of humankind.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6110

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.