Dentsu Inc. (President & CEO: Tadashi Ishii; Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 58,967.1 million yen) announced today that the robot astronaut Kirobo will be aboard the Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft that is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS) on August 4 this year.
Kirobo is one of the two humanoid communication robots developed under the KIBO ROBOT PROJECT, a joint research project carried out in collaboration with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo (Director: Dr. Yoshiaki Nakano; hereinafter "RCAST"), ROBO GARAGE Co., Ltd. (CEO: Tomotaka Takahashi; hereinafter "ROBO GARAGE") and Toyota Motor Corporation (President: Akio Toyoda; hereinafter "Toyota"). The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) also provided extensive cooperation.
RCAST and ROBO GARAGE worked on the development of the robot hardware and motion generation, Toyota was responsible for the voice recognition function used for the robot's intelligence, and Dentsu handled the creation of the conversation content as well as the management of the entire project.
The H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4 carrying the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV4, also called Kounotori 4) will be launched around 4:48 a.m. on August 4, 2013 (Sunday, Japan Standard Time) from the Tanegashima Space Center. Kirobo will be on board Kounotori 4, and after disembarking at the ISS the robot astronaut will wait for the arrival of Commander Koichi Wakata in November or December. They will then take part in the world's first conversation experiment held between a person and a robot in outer space. This experiment will take place in the Kibo Japanese experiment module, which is part of the ISS.
August 4, 2013 : Robot astronaut Kirobo leaves Japan for the ISS
Aug-Sep, 2013 : Kirobo speaks for the first time in outer space
Nov–Dec 2013 : Commander Wakata arrives at the ISS
December 2013 : Commander Wakata and Kirobo have their first conversation
May–June 2014 : Commander Wakata leaves the ISS
December 2014 or later : Kirobo returns to Earth
*Subject to change depending on the operating conditions
A high-resolution photograph of Kirobo can be downloaded directly from the "To the Press" section of the Kibo Robot Project website: http://kibo-robo.jp/en/