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The Robot Arm is an Important Element of the Japanese Experiment Module

The Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) on the International Space Station is the first Japanese on-orbit laboratory, and will function as the core of Japanese space utilization research. One of the distinctive features of Kibo is the Exposed Facility (Kibo-EF), constantly exposed to the space environment, where various material experiments, earth observation and space environment measurements will be conducted. The Kibo-EF is expected to contribute to international cooperation by providing partner countries with opportunities to utilize this unique experiment facility on ISS exposed to the space environment.

Replacement of the Orbital Replacement Units (ORU) mounted on the Kibo-EF will be done by the Kibo Remote Manipulator System (KiboRMS). The KiboRMS consists of a main arm which is about 10 meters long and a small fine arm which is about 1.5 meters long and grappled by the main arm when in use. Both arms have 6 joints (6 degrees of freedom) and can move like a human's arm. The Space Station crew will operate these arms using hand controllers in the Kibo pressurized module.

The KiboRMS is one of the most functionally important and technically advanced components of the Kibo. Prior to the Kibo launch, the Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) mission will be conducted to secure KiboRMS development by conducting a flight demonstration test of a robot arm based on the KiboRMS Small Fine Arm, onboard the Space Shuttle.


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