Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Forget humans, Russia wants a gunslinging robot piloting its spacecraft

russian gunslinging robot to space station fedor 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The Cold War may be over but that hasn’t stopped either the United States or Russia from covertly testing the latest and gravest of military weaponry — especially in orbit around our planet. The U.S. has been accused of spying on the Chinese space station with its remote-controlled space plane and recently, Russia launched a mysterious unregistered sensor with potential military applications to the space station. That said, it looks like the Russians are upping the astronomical ante by sending its gunslinging humanoid robot to outer space — but don’t worry, they say it’s super chill.

Earlier in 2017, the state-funded Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects unveiled the anthropomorphous robot known as FEDOR — an acronym for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research. If that name seems simultaneously ominous and terrifying, you should check out FEDOR’s death skills highlight reel. In demonstrations, FEDOR has the ability to blast bullets via dual pistols, perform army crawls, drive a car, and even make time to pump a little iron in pure Vladimir Putin fashion.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Head of the Military-Industrial Commission Dmitry Rogozin later tweeted: “Robot FEDOR showed the ability to shoot from both hands. Fine motor skills and decision-making algorithms are still being improved.”


The deputy later attempted to gloss things over via Facebook to let everyone know that the video was by no means a showing of overt aggression and instead simply a demonstration of the bot’s dexterity and the utilized decision-making algorithms. On Monday, November 20Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced that FEDOR would be piloting the Federatsiya spacecraft into orbit in 2021. Eventually, Roscosmos plans to use the Federatsiya craft to carry astronauts to the moon and potentially one day to Mars.

Currently, the cyber cosmonaut is set to begin preliminary pilot training for the Federatsiya in 2020 and could join the International Space Station as soon as 2024, according to project director Sergei Hurs. It’s still too early to tell how FEDOR will perform in the unforgiving vacuum of space but at the moment, the robot looks like a regular jack-of-all-trades.

“This thing can work without a space suit, live not only in a crew vehicle but even outside it,” explained Rogozin.

With this in mind, robots will inevitably one take our jobs and claim dominion over our planet but in the interim, at least there is now the potential for us to witness a robot pilot a spaceship and even potentially ghost ride the celestial whip en route to Mars.

Editors' Recommendations

Dallon Adams
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Dallon Adams is a graduate of the University of Louisville and currently lives in Portland, OR. In his free time, Dallon…
NASA has an issue with the Cygnus spacecraft heading to ISS
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter approaches the International Space Station where the Canadarm2 robotic arm is poised to capture it for docking.

In a rare turn of events for what is usually such a reliable vehicle, NASA is currently assessing the condition of a Cygnus spacecraft that’s only managed to deploy one of its two solar arrays as it heads to the International Space Station (ISS) on a supply mission.

Another of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighters arriving at the International Space Station on August 12, 2021, with both of its solar arrays clearly deployed. NASA

Read more
Remote surgery robot to be tested on space station
Virtual Incision's MIRA robot.

NASA is planning to send the first humans to Mars sometime in the 2030s, but what happens if one of the crew suffers a serious health issue during such a lengthy mission?

Unlike the International Space Station (ISS) where an astronaut can return to Earth for emergency medical assistance in a matter of hours, voyages to deep space are an altogether different proposition.

Read more
Space station’s new robotic arm springs to life
The European Robotic Arm attached to the space station.

Two spacewalkers at the International Space Station (ISS) activated the facility's new robotic arm for the first time on Thursday, April 28.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev concluded their spacewalk at  6:40 p.m. ET after 7 hours and 42 minutes outside the ISS, with much of that time spent working on the European Robotic Arm (ERA).

Read more