Space Robot Designed As Companion For Japanese Astronaut

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Japan has launched a humanoid robot bound for the International Space Station to keep one of its astronauts company.


The Iron Man suit hasn't taken off yet, but Kirobo has already left for space.

KIROBO: (Foreign language spoken)

CORNISH: Kirobo is meant to be a companion for Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. It will also be able to communicate with another robot back on Earth, presumably if Kirobo and Wakata run out of things to talk about. Before the launch, Kirobo told reporters: One small step for me, a giant leap for robots. Well, for mankind's sake, we just hope Kirobo's personality is like this.


BEN BURT: (as Wall-E) Wall-E.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (as Character) Wall-E.

CORNISH: And not this.


KEIR DULLEA: (as Dr. Dave Bowman) Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

DOUGLAS RAIN: (as HAL) I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.


Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from