The International Space Station used its robotic arm on Monday to shear off a piece of a defunct Chinese space station.
The robotic arm was deployed on Sunday and attached to the Chinese Tiangong 2 spacecraft before suddenly tumbling back out of control. The space station’s intended destination for the robotic arm was to cut off the station and allow it to burn up in the atmosphere, but it was discovered in the middle of a maneuver when the gap grew between its center of gravity and the station.
After turning back on, the arm reached out to the main portion of the station. Images taken from the space station show the red line completely folded up, while at the same time the white mass in the middle in the arm is apparent.
The exact nature of the Chinese space station’s debris is still uncertain. Was the debris part of the same piece that was pulled off the station by the robot arm on Sunday or was it a new piece?
When asked about the failure of the arm, said NASA on Tuesday, “The robotic arm behaved as expected — it disentangled the Tiangong 2 from the Space Station.”
Still, NASA said it was not yet clear if the debris is the same chunk that hit the space station on Sunday.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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