Valkyrie is an advanced humanoid designed to operate in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments. NASA hopes to eventually send Valkyrie into space, to the moon, and to Mars.
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Valkyrie's chest protects the robot if it falls forward, and houses linear actuators that can rotate the its torso.
Valkyrie was developed at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), which has a long history of humanoid robot development, most notably the Robonaut program. Team leader Nicolaus Radford supervised a group of engineers from NASA JSC, in Houston, Texas, who designed and built Valkyrie in total secrecy and under a tight deadline—nine months—in partnership with the University of Texas and Texas A&M. Valkyrie, officially designated "R5" by NASA, was created to participate in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials. In 2016, NASA awarded Valkyrie robots to three robotics labs in the United States and Europe to explore and develop the humanoid's capabilities: MIT, University of Massachusetts Lowell (which teamed up with Northeastern University in Boston) and University of Edinburgh in Scotland.