The European Space Agency (ESA) is finally ready to deliver its new robotic arm to the International Space Station. The 11.3-meter boom has a range of great features, including the ability to operate independently and “walk” around the outside of the orbital position.
The European Robotic Arm (ERA) was originally designed to fly aboard NASA’s space shuttle, and will finally travel to space after “two decades of technical and program challenges,” according to the European Space Agency. The arm, along with a new Russian unit called the Nauka, is scheduled to be launched on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 15, 2021.
A European consortium led by Airbus Defense and Space in the Netherlands growth The robotic arm of the European Space Agency. Airbus designed the arm and its software functions and also tested the system.
The seven-jointed arm (one at the elbow and three at each wrist) is 11.3 meters long and 9.7 meters long. The “two-handed” device (one on each outside) has a symmetrical design, so there’s no real upper or lower arm. Because of this, ERA can “walk” through the outside of the EEIMoving the hand as it moves from one fixed anchor point to another. It is basically a giant robotic caterpillar capable of operating in space.
ERA se lanza con Nauka, también conocido como Módulo de Laboratorio Multipropósito, y dos estaciones de control (una interna y otra externa). El brazo comenzará sus funciones en el nuevo módulo, convirtiéndose en el primer dispositivo robótico en dar servicio a un segmento ruso.
A su llegada a la estación espacial, ERM se unirá a Canadarm2 y al Sistema de Manipulador Remoto del Módulo Experimental Japonés (JEMRMS), ninguno de los cuales puede llegar al segmento ruso. Los puntos base incompatibles y las unidades de montaje de carga útil no permiten que Canadarm2 y JEMRMS funcionen en otras partes de la estación, según European Space Agency. ERA’s first tasks will be to configure the airlock and install the coolant inside the new Nauka unit.
The versatile arm can be remotely controlled by ISS astronauts or astronauts, whether they are inside or outside the station. ERA has its own internal computer and can perform tasks fully or semi-independently. The tip of each arm resembles a Swiss Army knife, and is equipped with an electrical outlet, a data bus, a video line, and a rotary driving machine.
The boom can operate with an accuracy of up to 5 mm and move heavy loads of up to 8000 kg. The International Space Station crew will use the arm to transport payloads, Solar panel installation, transporting astronauts from one place to another, inspecting the station with infrared cameras, and generally helping with work outside the station.
The International Space Station is expected to remain in service until around 2030, but the future of the space station is in doubt. In early June, the head of the Russian space threatened to leave the station within four years unless the United States lifts sanctions that are hurting the country’s space sector. It would be a shame if the Russians left, especially given the upcoming arrival of the new arm and unit.
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