A robotic arm designed and built in the Netherlands began its journey to the International Space Station on Wednesday.

The construction was launched from Baykonur space base in Kazakhstan.

Work on the robotic arm began as early as the 1980s, but plans were changed several times and launches were delayed time and again.

Dutch astronaut André Kuipers should have received the robot arm in 2012 when he himself lived on the ISS, but that also fell through.

The 11-meter-long European Robotic Arm (ERA) is due to arrive at its new workplace next week.

The arm should help with spacewalks, among other things.

The ERA must also carry out certain experiments so that astronauts do not have to go outside.

The arm has an elbow and two wrists, so it can walk on the outer wall of the ISS.

He becomes attached to a new Russian extension, which will be attached to the ISS.

The development and construction of the arm cost about 360 million euros, of which the Netherlands contributed about 240 million euros.

The main contractor is the company Airbus Defense and Space from Leiden.

That was founded in the 1960s under the name Fokker Ruimtevaart and later called Dutch Space.