When engineers designed the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo, the largest and most elaborate of the International Space Station’s (ISS) three laboratories, there was no plan to include an airlock and robotic arm. Those were added later with the idea they could be used to remotely replace electrical components, thermal controls and other external hardware without the need for risky and time-consuming spacewalks.  But three years after reaching orbit, Kibo’s airlock and arm ...

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