The Phys.org article NASA's new space 'botanist' arrives at launch site states:

NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) left NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on April 6 by ground transport and arrived at Kennedy Space Center on April 9.

A few days after it reaches the space station, ECOSTRESS will be robotically installed on the exterior of the station's Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit.

ECOSTRESS will give us new insights into plant health by quantifying the temperature of plants from space as never before, measuring regions as small as 230 feet (70 meters) on a side, or about the size of a small farm. It will do this by estimating how much water plants are releasing to cool themselves (i.e., evapotranspiration—the equivalent of sweating in humans). This will tell us how much water different plants use and need, and how they react to environmental stresses caused by water shortages. ECOSTRESS will estimate how much water moves through and out of plants by tracking how the temperatures of plants change. The data from its minimum one-year mission will be used by ecologists, hydrologists, agriculturalists, meteorologists and other scientists.

It shows a version of this image, but I've found a higher resolution version at the JPL ECOSTRESS mission page.

Question: I don't understand much of what I'm looking at here. On the left the long arm looks like the Mobile Servicing System or MSS and on the left the tangle of joints could be the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) or DEXTRE, but near the bottom on the right there are some long, straight segments that look like another MSS. Are there two?

below: "Figure 1. Japanese Experiment Module (colored white) on International Space Station" From here. Click for full size.




  1. SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System)
  2. Dextre aka SPDM (Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator)
  3. JEMRMS (Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System)

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The SPDM is pretty complicated having two arms of its own, a rotatable waist joint, tool platforms, etc. In your picture, the SSRMS is holding the SPDM. The picture below shows it parked.

enter image description here Picture Source

Looks like you were missing the JEMRMS mostly. You can read about it here. It can actually pick up an additional small RMS, the Small Fine Arm. But in your picture it's simply grappled to a payload. The JEMRMS is conceptually more like the Shuttle arm than it is like the SSRMS.

enter image description here

The JEMRMS was launched pre-installed on the JEM on the STS-124 shuttle mission. You can see it here in the payload bay prior to the doors being closed.

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    $\begingroup$ The photo of STS-124 answers the question I was about to ask here! These images really help to understand more what's "really going on up there." So much to keep track of. fyi this community wiki still doesn't have all of the big 'bots yet. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 18 '18 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ 124 was another of my favorite missions. The JEM is really pretty amazing in its capabilities. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 18 '18 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ I remember you mentioning another one of your favorites in comments to me, but I don't know how to search for it. Can you remind me again? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 18 '18 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ I was fortunate to work on 2 of the 3 JEM missions, STS-124 and STS-127. STS-124 brought up the main module, STS-127 brought up the "porch". $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 18 '18 at 14:15

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