Canadarm2 robotic arm awaits deployment in space

Atlantis space shuttle arrives on 12. July airlock to the iss – canadarm2 takes over installation

Until now, iss astronauts had to leave the space station from the russian zvezda module at great expense in order to carry out their work in space. Soon they will have a $164 million airlock of the highest order at their disposal, provided that the iss gripper arm, which is a bit sick at the moment, really does a good job. Beim ersten test des kanadischen roboterarms waren kommunikationsprobleme zwischen einem der gelenke des arms und dem backup-computersystem aufgetreten. If the robotic arm did not function as desired in mid-july, the mission could fail.

canadarm2 robotic arm awaits deployment in space

"There were no difficulties at all. Everything went like clockwork", freute sich der nasa station flight director john m. Curry last week. Contrary to all fears that it could go wrong again, last thursday the test of the new robotic arm of the international space station went flawlessly over the stage. From the u.S-destiny laboratory, susan helms and jim voss operated and controlled the $600 million project "heavy" gerat to prepare it for its first rough, important mission: fixing the $164 million, 15-ton airlock. Earlier, the iss astronauts had some problems with the camera system that plays a critical role in the installation of the airlock. Nevertheless, the second test run with the canadian canadarm2 went so perfectly that everyone involved can now look forward to the launch of atlantis with a little more peace of mind than was the case just a few weeks ago.

Airlock airlock

Hardware problem during the first test run

At the time, problems with the iss’s uninstalled grapple arm made it necessary to postpone atlantis’s mission to the space station, which was originally scheduled for mid-june. To give the control team and crew aboard the international space station more time to troubleshoot the problem, nasa decided to cancel atlantis’ launch for the time being.

The canadarm2 has two independent control systems. Although the main system worked smoothly, according to nasa, there were problems with the backup system. This is how the brakes of the robotic arm were unexpectedly activated. On another occasion, the astronauts were unable to use it due to a "communication problem" do not bring the arm into position as desired. Most likely, the first test run failed, the experts ame, because two hard disks failed at once. Command and control computer 2 is currently working as the main computer, while computer 1 is available as a backup. Meanwhile the third computer has no hard disk; also here the same problems appeared, as with the first two electron brains. But in the meantime, the crew has assembled and installed a backup computer, which is already working as a "deputy" for the third colleague on duty.

An arm with a range of 17.6 meters

When the space shuttle atlantis after several postponements finally on 12. When the iss launches in july, the load will be coarse, and will literally be on the "shoulders" of canadarm2 loads. After all, the robotic arm has to lift a 6.5 ton unwieldy device out of the space shuttle and then mount it to the station. That canadarm2 is up to its task has long been believed by csa’s manager of mission operations chris lorenz:

The canadarm2 is a coarser, more dexterous and more sophisticated version of the shuttle’s robotic arm. He is canadas most important contribution to the space station program. It will do its job.

At 1640 kilograms and a maximum length of 17.6 meters, the canadarm2, equipped with seven motorized joints, is capable of demanding heavy payloads and also assisting in the docking of the space shuttle. Unlike the conventional canadarm, which is mounted above the shuttle’s cargo bay, its new counterpart can operate from virtually any point on the iss. Denn jedes ende des neuen arms verfugt uber eine "hand", which can seize an anchor of the space station. This allows the robot arm to move between anchor points around the iss.

But only if he does justice to his task and installs the airlock precisely, space walkers – or rather space heavy workers – will be able to take their busy and extremely strenuous trip into space from there in the future – much more comfortably, but at the same time more safely than before.

Since other robotic arms are unable to raise and correctly position the airlock due to their insufficient operating range, the assembly of the valuable device depends on the performance and functional capability of the artificial arm. But a lot will also depend on the daily form of those astronauts who control the elongated arm – first and foremost susan j. Helms, who has been intensively trained for this task. Nasa flight director john curry, like his canadian colleague, is very optimistic. For him, there is no doubt that the robotic arm will serve well: "i am very confident. He will do his job well."

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