Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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Robotic Arm Tested On International Space Station

Key Highlights

  • The European Space Agency (ESA) is celebrating another milestone for the European Robotic Arm (ERA), which completed a test on the International Space Station effortlessly last week.
  • Two Russian cosmonauts configured the robotic arm successfully and tested its mechanism used to grip items on the ISS.
  • Further tests on the capabilities of the European Robotic Arm (ERA) will be carried out in the middle of September 2022.

Cosmonauts continued outfitting the European Robotic Arm (ERA) on the International Space Station’s Nauka laboratory, with two Russian cosmonauts successfully configuring the robotic arm and testing its rigidizing mechanism used to grip items.

The recent spacewalk took a little more than seven hours and was broadcast on NASA Television’s Media Channel and the NASA app and website.

The autonomous robotic arm will be utilized to install payloads with an accuracy of up to 5 mm, move spacewalkers & equipment around the station, and use its infrared cameras to inspect the exterior of the Space Station. The European Robotic Arm (ERA) joins the Canadian-built Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Japanese arm, which already supports station maintenance, research, and operations.

An ERA is owned by Roscosmos and designed to feature shoulders, elbows, and wrists. It is the first robot adept for “walking” around the Russian parts of the orbital complex.

The recent update follows news of the ERA successfully moving its first payload across the Nauka science module, showing efficacy in transporting the shipment and installing it back in its original position. Remote teams monitored the move in Moscow, Russia, and the Netherlands. While this payload was relatively small, the ERA can move up to 8 tons of assets.

Further tests are planned for mid-month to test the ERA’s capabilities and fine-tune the image quality captured by the arm’s cameras to guide the remote team’s operation.

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