Dutch ISS robot arm delayed by Russian team
The launch of a Dutch-built robotic arm for the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed once again. This time, the delay comes from problems with a Russian unit. The European Robotic Arm (ERA) may only be launched at the end of next year, at the earliest. The robotic arm was developed by Dutch Space, a company based in Leiden. The development of the arm has been delayed for years. Originally, the ERA was supposed to be launched in 2002. Five years later, another mission was also cancelled.
ERA is around 11 meters long. It is an extension for the ISS, or habitable artificial satellite, which can execute various tasks in and around the space station. This makes it easier for astronauts as they will not have to perform as may space walks, which are still dangerous as ever. The Space Station is in essence a research laboratory in which fields such as astronomy, meteorology and physics as well as biology are experimented in. The arm has to be sent to the ISS at the same time as a Russian unit, because the two have to be interlinked with each other. Because there are problems with the development of the Russian unit, the ERA can not yet be launched.