Robot astronaut awaiting ‘compatriot’ spaceman

Robot astronaut awaiting ‘compatriot’ spaceman

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Robot astronaut awaiting ‘compatriot’ spaceman

Kirobo is seen during a session to check its first conveyance into space. REUTERS photo

The world’s first robot astronaut is pining for a conversation partner as he waits for Japanese spaceman Koichi Wakata aboard the International Space Station.

“Mr. Wakata, are you not here yet? I really want to see you soon,” the pint-sized android said in a message released by its project team in Japan Wednesday.

The wide-eyed and bootie-wearing “Kirobo,” roughly the size of a Chihuahua, left Earth on a cargo-carrying rocket and reached the space station on Aug. 10.

“Good morning to every one of you people on Earth. I am robot astronaut Kirobo. I am the world’s first talking robot astronaut. Nice to meet you,” the automaton said in Japanese.

Wakata along with Mikhail Tyurin of Russia and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio will be aboard the Soyuz-FG rocket which will set off from Kazakhstan at 0414 GMT tomorrow for a six-hour journey to the ISS.

Kirobo is programmed to communicate in Japanese and keep records of its conversations with Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to command the ISS.