NASA's R5 aka Valkyrie

A humanoid robot by Johnson Space Center designed to operate in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments.


Height190 cm | 74.8 in
Weight136 kg | 300 lbs
MaterialsCovered in foam and soft fabric
Power1.8-kWh dual-voltage battery
Computers2 x Intel Core i7
SensorsCarnegie Robotics Multisense SL in head, secondary head cameras, torso cameras, shin cameras, knee lidars, six-axis force-torque sensors in feet
ActuatorsFive series-elastic rotary actuators and two linear actuators in arms
Six finger and thumb actuators
Five series-elastic rotary actuators in upper leg and two in ankles
Five series elastic rotary actuators in torso
SoftwareRobot Operating System (ROS)
Degrees of Freedom (DOF)44 (Neck: 3 DoF; Arm: 4 DoF x 2; Wrist: 3 DoF x 2; Hand: 4 DoF x 2; Torso: 3 DoF, Leg: 6 DoF x 2; Ankle: 2 DoF x 2)


Valkyrie, also known as NASA’s R5, is a product of the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Engineering Directorate as an entry to the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials competition. The name comes from Norse mythology, inspiring a rugged, robust, and entirely electric humanoid design that can operate in damaged human-engineered environments.

The Valkyrie team furthered a partnership with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), implementing walking algorithms on NASA hardware. The move aims to prepare for the Space Robotics Challenge, one of  NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and Centennial Challenges.


The humanoid robot Valkyrie stands at 190cm or 74.8in and weighs 300 lbs or 136kg. Valkyrie is covered in soft fabric and foam. It utilizes two Intel Core i7 computers.


Valkyrie can run when supplied power from a wall or battery source. The custom 1.8kWh dual voltage battery allows for about an hour of run time. When not using the battery, a mass simulator and capacitor can simulate the mechanical and a few of the battery’s electrical properties.

Head/Sensor Suite

Valkyrie’s head rests on top of a 3DOF neck. The Carnegie Robotics Multisense SL serves as the main perceptual sensor of the robot. Although, it includes some modifications allowing for IR-structured light point cloud generation on top of the implemented laser and passive stereo methods. While in the torso, Valkyrie holds fore and aft hazard cameras.


Each upper arm has 4 series elastic rotary actuators and 7 joints when combined with the forearm. The arms feature a quick electrical and mechanical disconnect between the first two joints, allowing easy shipping and service.


Valkyrie’s simplified humanoid hand has 3 fingers and a thumb. Each forearm has a single rotary actuator for the wrist roll, a couple of linear actuators for wrist pitch and yaw, and six finger and thumb actuators. The hands attach to the arm ends for quick disconnects when shipping.


Among the features found on the torso are two series elastic rotary actuators, two series elastic linear actuators working in concert to provide motion between the pelvis and torso, and other computer and power facilities. Meanwhile, in the pelvis are three series elastic rotary actuators, such as the waist rotation joint and each leg’s hip rotation joint. The pelvis, which likewise houses two IMUs and cameras, serves as the robot’s base frame.


Each upper leg features 5 series elastic rotary actuators, while another 2 linear actuators work in concert to realize ankle motion. The leg, similar to the arm, has a quick mechanical and electrical disconnect. Other inclusions are knee lidars, shin cameras, and 6-axis force-torque feet sensors.


Robots IEEE

Wevolver 2023