METERON SUPVIS Justin: an astronaut in space and a robot on Earth working together

The METERON SUPVIS experiments – a collaboration between DLR and ESA – demonstrate the control of intelligent robots on planetary surfaces by astronauts in orbit. Rollin' Justin at the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in Oberpfaffenhofen receives its instructions from a tablet computer on the International Space Station ISS. When performing its tasks, Justin must act autonomously and use its local and artificial intelligence to decide on how individual workings steps can be carried out. The local intelligence of the humanoid robot enables the astronauts to command a wide range of reconnaissance, construction and maintenance activities. This type of human-machine interaction makes the robot the 'work colleague' of the astronaut. The interaction uses the European 'Multipurpose End to End Robotic Network' (METERON) on the ISS.

Three ISS experiments are planned using METERON SUPVIS Justin. ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli and NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Jack Fischer successfully carried out two experiments in August 2017. Alexander Gerst will perform the third ISS experiment in the second half of 2018. He will control Rollin' Justin 'on site' to extend the simulated construction of a planetary infrastructure by adding new components. These complex tasks will demonstrate the usability of the new technology and provide solutions for commanding autonomous robots during space missions.

One application on Earth is future industrial production, which requires close cooperation between information technologies, automation technology, robotics and humans. Robots and humans must be able to work together safely and reliably.


Elke Heinemann

Digital Communications
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-1852

Volker Schmid

ISS Specialist Group Leader, Head of the Cosmic Kiss Mission
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Space Agency at DLR
Science and Exploration
Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn

Martin Fleischmann

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Space Agency at DLR
Communications & Media Relations
Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn
Tel: +49 228 447-120