Technicians in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida load the dexterous humanoid astronaut helper, Robonaut 2, or R2, into the Permanent Multipurpose Module, or PMM. Packed inside a launch box called SLEEPR, or Structural Launch Enclosure to Effectively Protect Robonaut, R2 will be placed in the in the same launch orientation as space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 crew members -- facing toward the nose of the shuttle with the back taking all the weight.
Although R2 will initially only participate in operational tests, upgrades could eventually allow the robot to realize its true purpose -- helping spacewalking astronauts with tasks outside the International Space Station. STS-133 is targeted to launch Nov. 1. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin