They’re on to us.
A humanoid robot astronaut with a fierce social-media presence was removed from Twitter after publicly accusing two former cosmonauts of getting drunk during a recent turn on the International Space Station, The Independent reported.
Now, the sassy space robot is being implicated in a Russian political scandal.
Officially known as Skybot F-850, or Fedor — short for “Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research” — the high-flying robot was recently sent to the ISS via a Russian Soyuz capsule that launched from Kazakhstan on August 20.
Fedor served only 10 days aboard the ISS before being brought back to Earth, after researchers realized the bot could not properly walk in microgravity.
By then, the robo-naut already had a “bad bot” reputation, thanks to former Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, now head of Russia’s Roscosmos space program, who shared videos prior to launch that depicted Fedor driving a car, weight lifting and shooting guns.
Fedor’s popularity on social media had taken on a life of its own until a few days ago, when it publicly turned on former colleagues, veteran cosmonauts and politicians Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyayev.
“Robots, unlike Suraev and Samokutyayev, are not susceptible to weaknesses, do not violate the dry law at the orbital station, do not speak nonsense, complete the flight task completely and without comment and do not seek to leave the cosmonaut corps for a place in the State Duma,” tweeted Fedor, as reported by Ars Technica on Tuesday.
“My opinion of people is low,” it added.
Fedor’s timing raises concerns over a controversy between Roscosmos members and Rogozin, including Suraev and Samokutyayev, who have publicly criticized their leader.
On Twitter, Suraev suggested that Rogozin wasn’t investing enough in Russian space travel — juxtaposing Space X’s sleek space digs with Russia’s own apparently cramped vessel.
Rogozin has denied any involvement in Fedor’s antics and has intimated that the bot was using Twitter of its own volition.
“This is not a question for us, you need to contact Fedor and write to him,” Rogozin told the media, according to the Independent.
Meanwhile, Samokutyayev told Russian website Rise that he may press charges, and also maintained there is no alcohol aboard the ISS.
“I am outraged because of this insult. I will go to court, I will not let this go, and Maxim Suraev, too. We are heroes of Russia … This is a matter of jurisdiction,” he said, via Google Translate.