A small fleet of delivery robots gave a futuristic salute to late astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.
The bots, created by Starship Technologies, rode around the monument in a kind of parade. Glenn died Thursday, Dec. 8, at the age of 95.
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A representative of Starship Technologies said the robots' design was created as part of a NASA competition to build devices that can collect rock samples on Mars and the moon. Co-founder and CEO Ahti Heinla later realized the robot could change the delivery industry.
"Starship wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the accomplishments of men like John Glenn who made NASA what it is today," the representative said. "That’s why we took time out of our regularly scheduled mapping in preparation for the Starship delivery testing program to bring our robots together for a tribute parade to the amazing John Glenn."
In 1962, Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth. Before he was an astronaut, he was a fighter pilot in two wars, and as a test pilot, he set a transcontinental speed record. He later served 24 years in the Senate, representing Ohio.
Starship said it is building a fleet of robots designed to deliver goods in 15 to 30 minutes within a 2 to 3 mile radius. It has launched commercial delivery pilot programs in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland and Estonia.