In 2011, NASA launched what it described as the "first human-like robot to space" onboard a Discovery mission to the International Space Station "to become a permanent resident" on the orbiting spacecraft. With a pair of robotic arms and nimble hands, the humanoid robot known as Robonaut2 (R2) was designed to assist astronauts on the station.
According to a NASA fact sheet, R2 "could one day venture outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work." A February 2018 dispatch from Robonaut's official Twitter account said the bot was being prepped for a flight back to the Earth. A tweet from astronaut Joseph M. Acaba said the bot was headed to Earth for "repairs and refurb," but said the team onboard was looking "forward to his return."