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ERA Simulation Facility
ERA Simulation Facility

Objective

The ERA Simulation Facility (ESF) has been developed by Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands B.V. to support the design, development, verification and validation of the European Robotic Arm (ERA). Amongst others the very complex dynamics of the arm are simulated in order to test the control algorithms. All on-board systems are simulated. The computer and Man Machine Interfaces can be connected as real hardware-in-the-loop.

Context

The European Robotic Arm (ERA) will be a crucial piece of equipment on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). The intelligent space robot ERA will be launched together with the Russian Science Power Platform (SPP) module on a US Space Shuttle. Its operations will start with assembly of solar arrays on the Russian segment, and continue through ISSs mission. ERAs other tasks will include the positioning of miscelaneous payloads and instruments on the Science Power Platform, support of crew members during EVA operations, replacement of solar arrays and inspection of the outer surface of the station.

ERA Simulation Facility ERA comprises two approximately 5 metre-long symmetrical arm sections of carbon-fibre, linked with an elbow hinge. The end of each arm is equipped with a wrist joint and grappling mechanism. Using these Basic End Effectors, ERA can anchor itself to the space station or take hold of objects. Sensors in the joints are used to get a global fix on where ERA is at a given moment, to approach a Base Point ERA uses its End Effector cameras. ERAs own intelligent computer system registers and controls all tasks and operations performed by the robot arm. ERA comprises two approximately 5 meter-long symmetrical arm sections of carbon-fibre, linked with an elbow hinge. The end of each arm is equipped with a wrist joint and gripper mechanism. Using these Basic End Effectors, ERA can anchor itself to the space station or take hold of objects. Sensors in the joints are used to get a global fix on where ERA is at a given moment, to approach a Base Point ERA uses its End Effector cameras. ERA´s own intelligent computer system registers and controls all tasks and operations performed by the robot arm.

Role of EuroSim

The ESF system is developed with EuroSim and will be in use until end of the life time of ERA. The ERA Mission Preparation and Training Equipment (MPTE) reuses many parts of the ESF to establish the trainig facility for the astronauts and kosmonauts.


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