Kirobo is Japan’s first robot astronaut, developed by University of Tokyo and Tomotaka Takahashi, to accompany Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. Kirobo arrived on the ISS on August 10, 2013 on JAXA’s H-II Transfer Vehicle Kounotori 4, an unmanned resupply spacecraft launched August 4, 2013 from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center. A twin to Kirobo, named Mirata, was created with the same characteristics. Mirata will stay on Earth as a backup crew member. The word “kirobo” itself is a portmanteau of “kibō” (希望), which means “hope” in Japanese, and the word “robo” (ロボ), used as a generic short word for any robot.


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