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150 micrometre precision thousands of kilometres away – flight day 6

8 Sep 2015, 08:28 UTC
150 micrometre precision thousands of kilometres  away – flight day 6 ESA
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Centaur robot during interact experiment. Credits: ESA
Flight day 6 was probably one of ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen’s most busy on the International Space Station so far, but many experiments have been completed. After the daily planning conference with ground control Andreas put on the SkinSuit and finished testing the MobileHR wireless bike exercise system by going for a 90-minute session on the Station’s exercise bike.
Andreas operating robot in space.
He used a new 3D training tool called 3Dvit to setup the highlight of the day in ESA’s Columbus space laboratory: operating the Centaur robot in The Netherlands to put a peg in a hole simulating connecting a wire on another planet. The Interact experiment was setup to be a tough challenge: thousands of kilometres away orbiting Earth 400 km high at speeds of 28 800 km/h Andreas had to remotely operate Centaur’s arms in an operation that allowed only 150 micrometre tolerance – or less than a sixth of a milimetre. This precision required tactile feedback that ESA developed to allow fine robotic control over large distances. Andreas “felt” the objects he was “touching” but the signals travelled up some 144000 km.
Contact. Credits: ESA
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