Dutch Space is the largest company focused on space techniques in the Netherlands. The company designs and develops subsystems for satellites and launching crafts, and it supports the industry and science by performing space research. Dutch Space has its own testing facilities and is closely involved in building the European Ariane 5 rocket.
Zero gravity or micro-gravitation is their main area of research in many different fields of science. They have also contributed to the International Space Station by constructing an 11-meter long intelligent robotic arm. This arm was launched into space in 2007 and has been contributing to research ever since. The technology and knowledge used by Dutch Space is also being used in several robotics projects right here on earth.
Dutch Space is involved in project Virtual Slave to create a maintenance robot for the fusion reactor ITER. Project Virtual Slave is a multifunctional project that can be used in many industries, the space sector among others. Since the development of multiple prototypes is a very costly business, the development of a software system that can test a robot arm in the development stage could lead to immense cost cutting. While the robotic arm in this system will be virtual, the person who controls the arm can feel touch, friction and weight through the so-called master-slave connection, making it the ultimate test program.