Marc Garneau's Third Mission

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Mission STS-97, with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Marc Garneau aboard, was given the green light today during a NASA Pre-launch Press Conference held at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to lift-off at 10:06 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 30, 2000, from KSC, in Florida.

Michel Vachon, Director General of CSA's Canadian Astronaut Office, reviewed the preparations for Mission STS-97 and discussed the tasks that Marc Garneau has been assigned for his third space mission. "The prime objective of Mission STS-97 will be the installation of the first of four sets of solar panels on the Space Station. Marc Garneau will serve as Flight Engineer during the mission. This is the first time a Canadian astronaut has held such a critical role during a spaceflight," indicated Mr. Vachon.

>From inside Shuttle Endeavour the Canadian astronaut will also coordinate two of his American crewmates as they complete the installation procedure during two separate extra-vehicular activities (or space walks).

Dr. Sylvie Béland, Manager of Launch and Flight Systems at the CSA, highlighted the importance of Marc Garneau's mission in the assembly of the International Space Station during a briefing session on the mission at the CSA headquarters. "Having an uninterrupted and reliable energy source is critical on the Space Station because power outages could be life-threatening. Electricity is literally the lifeblood of the Station, needed not only for daily activities and running scientific experiments, but also for the very survival of the crew," said Dr. Béland.

The largest engineering project ever undertaken, the International Space Station is being built jointly by Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan, Brazil and 11 European countries. Once completed, the Station will cover an area as large as a football field (108 x 74 metres) and weigh 450 tons. Orbiting at an average altitude of 400 kilometres, it flies regularly over Canada and is visible to the naked eye.

The Canadian contribution to the International Space Station, the Mobile Servicing Systems (MSS), is made up of three elements: a next-generation Canadarm called the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS); a smaller, detachable two-armed robot, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), that can be placed on the end of the SSRMS to perform delicate operations; and the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System, a movable platform for the robotic arm and the SPDM, which will slide along rails located on the Space Station's main structure to transport the arm to various points on the Station.

In April 2001, CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield will become the first Canadian Astronaut to perfom a space walk when he installs the new Canadian robotic arm on the International Space Station.

Canada is also contributing the Space Vision System, that provides information on the exact location, orientation and motion of a specific target, allowing Astonauts manipulating the SSRMS to handle its payloads precisely and safely. The Mobile Servicing System Operations Complex, a Ground Segment located at CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec completes Canada's contribution to the ISS and will be used to plan missions, monitor the health of the robotic arm, and to train astronauts and cosmonauts.

Established in 1989 and situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program and manages five core functions: Earth and Environment, Space Science, Human Presence in Space, Satellite Communications, and Space Technologies. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

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For more information:
Caroline Lavallée

Senior Communications Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4370
Marc Garneau STS-97 Mission Website:

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