Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are developing key technologies such as telepresence robotics for the exploration of space, including the Moon and Mars. This will allow robots on a distant planet to carry out tasks commanded by a human from a spacecraft in orbit. The ‘Surface Avatar’ mission team at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen has now demonstrated how this could work. From the International Space Station (ISS), a single person, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, simultaneously controlled several robots on Earth, allowing them to act partially or fully autonomously as required. This human-robot team collaboration is a first and the successful start of a new series of ISS experiments.