Work on the robotic arm began as early as the 1980s, but plans were changed several times and the launch was repeatedly delayed. First, the arm was supposed to be part of a European space shuttle and then a new Russian space station, but neither of them ever lifted off from Earth. After that, the space shuttle was supposed to take the robotic arm to the International Space Station, but the United States stopped this program. Dutch astronaut André Kuipers was supposed to have received the robotic arm in 2012 when he was living on the International Space Station, but that also failed.
There was also some last minute delay. The launch was scheduled for last week. When installing the missile installation, it turned out that the Russian builders had forgotten about the thermal blanket. Without this blanket, the sensors on board would be exposed to the extreme cold of space and could freeze to pieces. Under the hood, the sensors “only” have to withstand minus 50 degrees. It took a few days to get the rocket back into the hangar and install the blanket. After that, there were only a few days of waiting for a gap in the busy schedule of the International Space Station.
spacewalk help مساعدة
The robotic arm is 11 meters long. Among other things, he has to help with spacewalks. He also has to do experiments in a vacuum so that people don’t have to go out for it. In addition, there are cameras on the arm, allowing it to inspect the exterior of the International Space Station while crew members can remain safely inside. The arm has an “elbow” and “wrists” so that it can walk on the outer wall of the International Space Station. It’s working on a new Russian accessory, the Nauka (Science) module, which is also attached to the International Space Station.
André Kuipers says that such an arm is very important to the International Space Station. “It’s a great device. You can achieve more. Sometimes you don’t have to do a spacewalk because of it. You lose less time and take less risk.” During his first spaceflight in 2004, Kuipers took a scale model of the Dutch robot’s arm to the International Space Station. Kuipers also trained to walk in space in which he had to stabilize his arm. Sorry it didn’t work out in the end. “When he arrives, I will send a message to the International Space Station that I have sent them a gift.”
360 million euros
The development and construction of the arm cost around 360 million euros. The Netherlands contributed about 240 million euros of this. The main contractor is Airbus Defense and Space from Leiden. It was founded in the 1960s under the name Fokker Ruimtevaart and was later called the Dutch Space.
Technology from the 1990s is still hidden under the hood of a robotic arm, but it still works well, says Seitz Kampen. Led the development of the arm. “If we had built it now, we would have basically done the same thing. We had better cameras, which we could see more through. We could have used artificial intelligence for more safety. But that safety is already built in. The arm has a model of the International Space Station in Its memory, so it knows exactly where it is and can prevent collisions with the wall of the space station itself.”
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