The 11 meter long Dutch robot arm has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).

The European Robotic Arm (ERA) was connected around 3:30 p.m., NASA confirms.

The arm will help with spacewalks, among other things, so that astronauts have to go outside less often.

Last week, the robotic arm was launched from Baykonur space base in Kazakhstan.

The journey did not go well, because the Russian Nauka module carrying the arm had engine problems.

The system with which the module had to be connected to the ISS also malfunctioned.

The problems were solved along the way.

It took a very long time to connect the arm to the ISS.

Work on the robotic arm began in the 1980s, but plans were changed a number of times and launches were postponed.

Dutch astronaut André Kuipers should have received the robot arm in 2012, when he was living on the ISS.

That didn't work either.

Space

expert

Erik Laan described the robot arm in the

This will be the news

podcast of NU.nl as "a kind of stick insect with two branches".

He is supposed to walk on the outer wall of the ISS.

"With one branch he can grab on and then the other can go free," he says.

"By repeating that movement, it can get to hard-to-reach places and help astronauts do their jobs."

This saves time and risks, because astronauts don't have to go outside as much.

The development and construction of the ERA involves approximately 360 million euros.

The Netherlands has contributed about 240 million euros of this.

The company Airbus Defense and Space from Leiden is the main entrepreneur of the project.