ERA SC Acceptance

ERA SC Acceptance

Image courtesy of ESA - D. Ducros

Space Applications Services have successfully passed the acceptance by the European Space Agency, ESA, of the Telemetry Software implemented for the ERA (European Robotic Arm) Support Centre, ERA-SC, located at ESA/ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The software is based on Space Applications Services’ yamcs suite of mission control software tools with a set of extension modules implemented specifically for the ERA-SC developed by Space Applications Services.

ERA is a large re-locatable symmetrical robotic arm that will be deployed on the International Space Station (ISS). ERA acts as a tool for assembly and servicing tasks, cargo movement, and external inspection of the ISS. It is also intended to minimize hazardous and tiring Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) by astronauts by either replacing the EVA altogether (such as for external inspections), or minimizing EVA time by helping move astronauts into position to perform their tasks more efficiently.

There are several robotic arms attached to the ISS, however, ERA is the only robotic arm located on the Russian ISS Segment, having the ability to re-locate to different mounting positions, and to handle Russian Segment fittings. The largest spare part of ERA (9 metres long) has already been launched to the ISS, and the primary elements of the ERA are due to be launched in 2017.

Control of ERA can be by astronauts from inside the ISS using special software running on a laptop (Internal Man-Machine Interface, IMMI), or from outside the ISS by astronauts in EVA using a dedicated control panel (External Man-Machine Interface, EMMI). In addition to telemetry from movement and position sensors, ERA has two cameras which also provide downlink video to the ERA-SC giving ERA-SC operators full visitbility of the state of ERA.

ERA-SC is monitoring of ERA operations in real-time with video, voice and data, analysis of flight data, and supporting troubleshooting issues during flight. The flight data can be real-time or playback from data archives.

The European Space Agency has selected Space Applications Services’ yamcs Mission Control System to meet the telemetry handling needs of the ERA Support Centre. 

This activity was carried out under a programme of, and funded by, the European Space Agency. The views expressed here can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.