Newest robotic arm on ISS successfully moves payload in space

The newest robotic arm outside the International Space Station woke up, stretched and moved a payload effortlessly from one side to the other of the Nauka science module.

The European Robotic Arm successfully completed the first transfer following commands from cosmonauts inside the Space Station last week.

The test is performed in a collaboration between Russia and Netherlands. The payload was just the size of a small suitcase, but ERA's 11 m structure can maneuver up to eight-metric-ton payloads.

The whole operation took around six hours, after which the European Robotic Arm went into hibernation mode.

ERA is now going to continue being outfitted during the next spacewalk on Friday, 2 September, from 15:20 CEST.

Further tests will push the arm's capabilities to the limit in mid-September with what space engineers call a performance mission.

Operations will involve evaluating the performance of the brakes, joint motion and ERA's force control.

Owned by Roscosmos, this is the first robot capable of «walking» around the Russian parts of the orbital complex.

A consortium of European companies led by Airbus Defense and Space Netherlands designed and assembled it for ESA.