The arm of a robot made in the Netherlands has arrived at the International Space Station after a flight that lasted more than a week. There, the 11-meter-long arm will assist residents with spacewalks, inspections, and science experiments, among other things.
The European Robotic Arm (ERA) has been linked to a new Russian extension to the International Space Station, the Nauka (Sciences) module. It was launched last Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Along the way, there was a malfunction of the unit, including engine problems. On Thursday at 3:29 pm (Netherlands time), Noka docked at the International Space Station.
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Missiles hit unexpectedly
Soon after coupling, the problems were identified again. Nauka rockets launched unexpectedly, changing the position of the International Space Station in space. It now appears that the problems are over and the ISS has been retracted with the help of Russian Zvezda console rockets. Specialists are investigating exactly what happened.
Nauka was originally scheduled to launch in 2007, but the launch was postponed due to various technical issues. The unit is mainly used in space for scientific research. The robot arm also entered space later than originally planned
Work on ERA began as early as the 1980s, but plans were changed several times and the launch was repeatedly delayed. Dutch astronaut André Kuipers was supposed to receive a robotic arm in 2012 when he himself set up on the International Space Station, but that didn’t happen. At the last minute, the launch was postponed for a week, from July 15 to 21.
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 in Leiden. It was founded in the 1960s under the name Fokker Ruimtevaart and was later called the Dutch Space.
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