Space station’s new robotic arm springs to life

Two spacewalkers on the Worldwide House Station (ISS) activated the ability’s new robotic arm for the primary time on Thursday, April 28.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev concluded their spacewalk at  6:40 p.m. ET after 7 hours and 42 minutes exterior the ISS, with a lot of that point spent engaged on the European Robotic Arm (ERA).

The ERA arrived on the station in July final yr but it surely remained coated with thermal blankets till Thursday.

NASA shared footage (under) of the 2 cosmonauts some 250 miles above Earth as they labored to launch the robotic arm from its restraints forward of its first exercise.

The station's new robotic arm from @ESA has been launched from its restraints on the Nauka module and is now in movement.

— Worldwide House Station (@Space_Station) April 28, 2022

Attending to this stage has been a very long time coming. The ERA was designed greater than 30 years in the past, and varied technical points over the past 20 years prompted it to overlook three deliberate missions to the ISS.

However now European House Company (ESA) engineers can lastly have fun the arm’s first activation in house.

The brand new robotic arm is about 11 meters lengthy, weighs 1,390 kilos (630 kilograms), and consists of seven joints that supply a excessive diploma of maneuverability.

The ERA can be used primarily to put in, take away, and substitute experiment payloads and enormous parts; switch smaller payloads out and in of the station through the Russian airlock; transport spacewalkers from one a part of the ISS to a different “like a cherry-picker crane”; and monitor and examine the outside of the house station utilizing its 4 cameras.

The new robot arm destined for the space station.

Whereas the house station already has two operational robotic arms — Canada’s Canadarm2 and the Japanese Experiment Module Distant Manipulator System — the ERA is the primary to be deployed exterior the Russian part of the ISS, and so will give spacewalkers larger attain when conducting upkeep and improve work exterior the ability.

Dubbed “the sensible spacewalker,” the brand new arm is, in line with ESA, “made for strolling,” because it has the flexibility to maneuver hand-over-hand between fastened base factors.

“Shifting hand-over-hand across the Russian elements of the station, the European Robotic Arm will deliver extra freedom, extra flexibility, and extra expertise to house operations,” the company mentioned of its new ISS element.

Work to get the ERA totally operational will take 5 spacewalks in all. The primary of those befell final week and concerned the set up of a management panel. Thursday’s was the second and concerned transferring the arm for the primary time in house, whereas the third spacewalk is presently set for Could.

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