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ESA mission. Poles will build a robotic arm for the Argonaut lunar lander

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The European Space Agency (ESA) is constructing a lunar lander whose task will be to deliver various types of cargo to the surface of our natural satellite. The most important element of the structure, the robotic arm, will be created by the Polish company PIAP Space.

The European Space Agency Argonaut lander is to be intended for a wide range of missions: from the delivery of cargo and infrastructure necessary for the construction of lunar bases, through scientific research, to the deployment of rovers and energy stations. The most important element of the structure is the robotic arm, whose task will be to transfer the payload from the lander to the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite.

The Polish company PIAP Space, which is the author of the solution, is a leader in space robotics and the main contractor in ESA projects.

A mission to the Moon like a camper

– We can imagine the Argonaut mission as a camper. We are going on a journey and we have to provide water, food and everyday appliances for our astronauts. We need to set up their station, their home, the payloads that are used to explore the lunar surface, scientific instruments, and stations to charge their batteries. Our arm will be used to unload cargo from the Argonaut lander, but will also help in building a station on the Silver Globe – said Marcin Dobrowolski, president of the management board of PIAP Space, who was a guest of the “Dzień na Świecie” program on TVN24 BiS, in an interview with Hubert Kijek.

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The arm is to be very long, its reach will be from 4.5 meters to 5 meters, and its weight will be approximately 60-65 kilograms.

As the interlocutor admitted, the challenge on the Moon will be working in a vacuum. – We have problems with lubrication and welding of cold moving parts. Temperature fluctuations are a very big problem, Dobrowolski said. In this case, unlike the Apollo missions, Europe and America want to return for a longer period. – This device is supposed to be there for several months or even several years. It has to be switched on and operated on from time to time, said Dobrowolski. Moon dust will also be a big challenge for this equipment.

“The result of many years of work”

As reported in the press release, “the manipulator is the result of many years of work by the company, which has developed its designs based on the assumption of its modular structure, so as to be able to configure them depending on the required operation in a given mission.”

“As part of the MANUS project, PIAP Space together with invited partners – Astronika, GMV and Leonardo, will conduct research to design technology supporting logistics operations, scientific research and manned missions on the lunar surface based on three reference scenarios prepared by ESA. In turn, in the second part of the project, a prototype demo version of the robotic arm will be built (breadboard) used to demonstrate technology, test and verify the assumed system functions together with the required test equipment,” we read.

Visualization of the Argonaut lander on the MoonPIAP Space

This is not the first success of the Polish company

Entrusting the construction of a robotic arm is not the company’s first success. In 2022, PIAP Space, for the Mars Sample Return mission, built a prototype rover chassis for collecting and transporting Martian samples to the return rocket, whose task was to deliver them to Earth.

The company is also the main contractor for ESA in the TITAN advanced robotic arm project. It is intended for precise operations in orbit: from inspection and servicing of satellites, to removing inactive or damaged objects from orbit.

Watch the entire conversation with Marcin Dobrowolski, president of the management board of PIAP Space:

Hubert Kijek talks to Marcin Dobrowolski, president of the management board of PIAP SpaceTVN24 BiS

Author:ps,dd / prpb

Main photo source: PIAP Space

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