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Call it one giant leap for robot kind: A small talking robot launched into space aboard a Japanese cargo ship Saturday (Aug. 3) to keep astronauts company on the International Space Station.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the humanoid Kirobo "robot astronaut" into orbit from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan as part of nearly 3.5 tons of supplies and equipment to resupply the space station's six-person crew.
Kirobo was packed inside Japan's unmanned HTV-4 (Kounotori 4) cargo ship when it launched into orbit atop the country's H-2B rocket at 3:48 p.m. EDT (1948 GMT), though it was early Sunday morning (Aug. 4) Japan Standard Time at the time of liftoff. The HTV-4 spacecraft will arrive at the space station on Aug. 9.