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China Developing Robotic Arms for Space Stations: Source
   2016-04-21 16:09:05    Xinhua      Web Editor: Fei Fei

Chinese scientists are developing robotic arms for the country's space program, sources close to the research said Thursday.

According to a source from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the Chinese space program, research on the project began in 2007, and so far experts have built a robotic arm over ten meters long. The arm is capable of both payload lifting and precision maneuvers while in space.

With seven motorized joints and no fixed ends, it could crawl along the surface of a spacecraft like an inchworm, the source said, adding that the robotic arm could reach literally "every corner of the spacecraft" on its own calculations via a route planning system and attached cameras.

Another CASC source, meanwhile, said scientists were in fact developing two robotic arm models for the core module and an experimental module of China's planned space station, adding that the two arms could work in combination.

The robotic arms are China's latest space intelligence robotics engineering achievement, the source said.

Earlier reports said China plans to put a permanent space station into service around 2022. Its core module is expected to be launched around 2018.

With the current International Space Station set to end its mission in 2024, China could become the only country on Earth to operate a manned space station in the planet's orbit by then.

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