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ISS Flexes Robotic Arm Remotely

Aftermonths of tests, flight controllers on Earth took control of the InternationalSpace Station's (ISS) robotic arm Thursday for routine scans of the orbital laboratory'sexterior.

ISS roboticsflight controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texasperformed a series of meticulously planned maneuvers, in five-foot increments,to provide video coverage of key station elements.

While itmay sound like a small feat, the maneuver marks the first non-test use ofremote-controlled arm operations after months of tests between Earth-based roboticshandlers and the space station orbiting 220 miles above Earth.

"It allowsus to more efficiently use the on-orbit crew for the more intensive armoperations," Sarmad Aziz, an ISS robotics flight controller at JSC, told SPACE.comof the maneuver. "Our job [was] to just position the arm and use thecameras to survey a few points of interest on the space station."

ISSExpedition 12 commander Bill McArthur last worked with the station's armWednesday, when he used it to test new ungrappling procedures.

"Webenefited greatly from doing the on-orbit tests," Aziz said.

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