Posted: Friday, February 16, 2001
The Canadarm, developed by MD Robotics, a subsidiary of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates , has successfully completed another mission, including installation of a key component on the International Space Station in preparation for the April arrival of Canada's new generation robotic arm, the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). The SSRMS was also developed by MDA under contract to the Canadian Space Agency.
The complex docking mechanism, called a Power Data Grapple Fixture, will serve as the home base for the new arm until the arrival of the Mobile Base System in 2002. Developed by MD Robotics for NASA, this mechanism serves as the interface that provides vital power and data connections to the robotic arm, allowing it to move freely around the state-of-the-art orbiting research facility.
The first step was to install the U.S. Lab Module. With only two inches of clearance, Astronaut Marsha Ivins skillfully operated the shuttle's Canadarm, removing the 28 foot long, 14 foot wide module from the cargo bay and mounted it onto the station. With this element safely in place, astronauts then installed the Power Data Grapple Fixture on the Lab Module. This is the first of ten such mechanisms that will eventually be located on the Space Station.
"Excitement is mounting!" said Mag Iskander, vice president and general manager of MD Robotics. "On this mission we delivered both the sophisticated software and interface mechanism that will bring the arm alive. But this is just the beginning. We now enter a phase of sustaining engineering for the International Space Station, during which MDA will play a critical on-going role. We anticipate software enhancements will produce a strong revenue stream for many years."
Before the new generation Canadarm arrives at the International Space Station (ISS) in April, there is one more vital element necessary for operation of the system - the Robotic Workstation. The Robotic Workstation is the control station that will allow astronauts to operate the robotic arm from within the safe confines of the ISS. It is scheduled to be launched March 8th.
MD Robotics, a subsidiary of MacDonald Dettwiler, is the world's leading space robotics company committed to offering hi-tech, sophisticated robotic and engineering solutions for space and terrestrial applications.
MD Robotics is the prime contractor for the Mobile Servicing System under contract to the Canadian Space Agency.
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