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Making space history: Two generations of Canadian robotic arms work together in space

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2001

Saint-Hubert, Quebec, 28 April 2001 - In a delicate choreography 400 km above the Earth, today two generations of Canadian robotic arms worked together in space. "The successful handover of the pallet from Canadarm2 to the Shuttle Canadarm confirms our country as a world leader in space robotics," said the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). "Canada's innovative spirit is making its mark on the International Space Station."

The 17-metre-long new robotic arm controlled by Expedition Two crewmembers Susan Helms and Jim Voss inside the Destiny laboratory, began moving into position at 4:01pm as the Station orbited over the South Pacific. At 4:44pm, CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield, at the controls of the venerable Shuttle arm from inside Endeavour, commanded the original Canadarm to seize the pallet from Canadarm2 and berth it into the Shuttle's payload bay. "As we were grappling the pallet, we were flying over Canada at the time...an amazing tribute to the people who have worked at getting this working so far. Congratulations to the people on the ground who made this happen," said Hadfield from space as the transfer was being successfully completed.

The transfer of the pallet had been delayed because of Station computer difficulties. Throughout these difficulties, Canadarm2 remained activated with prime power and fully operational. The computer difficulties experienced were related to the Space Station's systems, and did not involve Canadarm2.

"Canadarm2 is critical to the successful assembly of the Space Station-it will act as a "construction crane" to build the Station in space, and will be used on virtually every assembly mission," said CSA President Mac Evans. Canadarm2's ability to flip end-over-end to reach different anchor points on the Station and its increased flexibility will allow the new arm to perform complex robotic manoeuvres beyond the reach of the original Canadarm.

Endeavour's flight has included the most complex and intricate robotics work ever conducted in space. Canadian companies from all regions of the nation participated in building Canadarm2, under the direction of its prime contractor MDRobotics of Brampton, Ontario.

Media Program for Monday, April 30 2001 (time TBC)

Live news conference with shuttle crew including CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield

Note: timing is subject to change. Please call number below to confirm times.

CSA spokespersons will be available for interviews at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and at the CSA's headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, and by phone upon request.

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For more information, contact:
Media Relations Office
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4345 or 4370
Fax: (450) 926-4352

Mission STS-100 Website: www.space.gc.ca/sts100-mission

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