Astronauts test handyman robot's brakes

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (AP) -- The international space station's giant new handyman robot got its first checkup today. Astronauts and flight controllers tested its electronics, joints and brakes.

The Canadian-built robot, named Dextre, passed all but one of the tests. One of the wrist joint brakes in Dextre's left arm slipped a tiny bit more than engineers wanted. But Canada's acting space station program manager says he's not too concerned. The brakes help hold the arm steady.

Two astronauts plan to take a spacewalk Monday night to add a tool holster and other accessories for Dextre. When the robot is fully assembled, it will stand 12 feet and have a mass of 3,400 pounds.

Two astronauts installed Dextre's two 11-foot arms during an overnight spacewalk that lasted into the wee hours of Sunday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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