It may be not be the only bot on the block for long but, for now at least, the Canadian-built Dextre robot has the spotlight to itself, with it set to blast off Tuesday on board the shuttle Endeavor for delivery to its new home on the International Space Station. As USA Today reports, the robot has been some ten years in the making (at a cost of $210 million), and is designed to handle many of the tasks that would otherwise be done by astronauts on spacewalks. Those astronauts will still have a job for a while yet, with one of the main tasks during Endeavor's mission obviously being the assembly of Dextre, which is currently broken down into nine parts. Even after that's done, however, Dextre apparently won't start work until sometime in 2009, at which point it'll be able to replace nearly 140 parts on the ISS, and be controlled either by mission control or the crew on the space station.
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