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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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.