DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
European Robotic Arm (ERA) of the International Space Station (ISS), artwork. The ERA is a robotic arm that is scheduled to be launched to the ISS in March 2012. This will be one of the final construction missions to the ISS. The ERA will be attached to the Nauka module, and will be used on the Russian segment of the ISS where the existing, more powerful, robotic arms (Canadarm2 and JEM-RMS) cannot be used. The payload here is an astronaut (bottom). A Soyuz or Progress capsule is at lower right. The ISS orbits the Earth at an altitude of around 360 kilometres, and is expected to remain in operation until at least 2020.
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