After all the years of live feeds and videos of these awesome folk in space I am still in awe.
Now look, I know Elon is doing a marvellous job trivializing space ops, but I still wouldn't say we're quite at the point where a mechanical arm catching spaceships "is any old gripper"...
I think the term "any old gripper" is fair comment. Given the costs involved, this should be designed and operated to last the lifetime of the station, despite the harsh conditions.
"Given the costs involved, this should be designed and operated to last the lifetime of the station, despite the harsh conditions."
Maybe, but most of the engineered products you're familiar with have been through many generations of design, operation and improvement, as well as competing against similar devices; so they are the result of accumulated wisdom on solving a particular problem.
The arm on the ISS is a second generation product (the first was on the Space Shuttle) and the opportunities for inspection and maintenance are pretty limited.
Even if a product is perfect and built to last a lifetime, it can still require replacement if it gets enough abuse from the users...
Life slipping by.
I wonder how many years of life are lost through doing a seven hour shift in such an environment.
My job feels like that most days.
"Canadarm2 is any old gripper"
"So, err ... I see from your CV you were the first to perform a hand job on the space station."
Re: previous experience
And your name is Randy, so why did the old one wear out?
Re: previous experience
"Hey, Randy. What's handy?"
No doubt the environment is very hostile to equipment & moving parts, but Canadarm2 cost $100 million, surely at that price it is possible to provide a mechanism which survives more than 400 operations?
Re: 400 operations
surely at that price it is possible to provide a mechanism which survives more than 400 operations?
The second one, certainly. But you have to learn somehow and there haven't been space-based robotic arms that've gone through 400 wear cycles like this before.
It's grabbing spacecraft
not making lattes. Sure you could probably design it so it could last 800 operations but then it would likely cost $250 million and be less reliable. And when $100 is the sort of money you're paying for a single launch there's not a lot of incentive to see how far you can stretch its life with duct tape and WD40.
It just keeps popping into my mind: "Let's win one for the old gripper!"
Best Boy Grip - Canadarm2
Volunteers take ONE step forward.
Permission to volunteer my arm Captain Mainwaring. It has done way more than 400 hand movements and still brings a smile to my face.
Mines the one with the LARGE tube of KY Jelly in the pocket