The European Robotic Arm (ERA), built by European airline Airbus for the European Space Agency (ESA), is preparing to fly to the International Space Station on July 15 with Russia’s new multipurpose laboratory module, also known as the Nauka, on the space agency’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. Russian Roscomos in Kazakhstan.
According to the American “space” website, the robot resembles a pair of compasses with two identical arms, each more than 16 feet (5 meters) long.
Equipped with an ingenious hand at the end of each arm, the European Space Agency said in a statement that it would be able to move freely outside the space station, attaching itself wherever needed.
Weighing just 1,390 lb (630 kg), and thanks to its lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber structure, the boom will be able to move and install components weighing up to 17,600 lb (8000 kg) with the ability to hit targets with an accuracy of 5 millimeters.
It can also transport astronauts during spacewalks from one job site to another, and the astronauts will be able to control the arm in real time from inside the space station or pre-program it to carry out tasks independently.
The arm also contains an additional computer in the middle, which astronauts can use to enter instructions while in space, and equipped with an infrared camera, the ERA can examine the space station’s structure and components and transmit its view to astronauts inside the orbiting laboratory.
The ISS already has two robotic arms: a 17-meter-long and a 10-meter Japanese remote experiment module manipulator system, however, neither of them can reach the Russian part of the space station.
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