Canadarm, Canadarm2, and Canadarm3 – A comparative table

Canadarm
The first Canadian robotic arm to go to space
Canadarm2
Servicing the International Space Station since 
Canadarm3Footnote 1
An artificial intelligence-based robotic system designed for the Lunar Gateway
Location

Installed on each Space Shuttle and returned to Earth.

Now retired, the Canadarm is on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

Stays permanently in space on board the International Space Station. Will stay permanently in space on board the Lunar Gateway.
Range of motion Reach limited to length of arm.

Moves end-over-end to reach many parts of the International Space Station, where its anchoring "hand" plugs into a power, data, and video outlet.

Because it is mounted on the Mobile Base, the arm can travel the entire length of the Space Station.

Will move end-over-end to reach many parts of the Lunar Gateway, where its anchoring "hand" will plug into a power, data, and video outlet.

The arm will be able to travel and bring tools to the entire length of the Lunar Gateway.

Fixed joint Fixed to the shuttle by one end. No fixed end. No fixed end.
Degrees of freedom

Six degrees of freedom. Similar to a human arm:

  • Two joints in the shoulder
  • One joint in the elbow
  • Three joints in the wrist

Seven degrees of freedom. Very similar to a human arm:

  • Three joints in the shoulder
  • One joint in the elbow
  • Three joints in the wrist

Seven degrees of freedom. Very similar to a human arm:

  • Three joints in the shoulder
  • One joint in the elbow
  • Three joints in the wrist
Joint rotation Elbow rotation limited to 160 degrees.

Each of Canadarm2's joints rotate 270 degrees in each direction, a total of 540 degrees.

This range of motion is greater than that of a human arm.

Each joint will be able to rotate almost 360 degrees.

Senses No sense of touch.
  • Force-moment sensors provide a sense of "touch".
  • Automatic collision avoidance.
  • Force-moment sensors provide a sense of "touch".
  • Automatic collision avoidance.
  • 3D Vision Sensor Tool that maps objects around it.
Length 15 m 17 m 8.5 m
Mass 410 kg 1,497 kg 715 kg (estimation)
Diameter 33 cm (exterior diameter of composite boom) 35 cm (exterior diameter of composite boom) 23 cm (exterior diameter of composite boom)
Speed of operation
  • Unloaded: 60 cm/s
  • Loaded: 6 cm/s
  • Unloaded: 37 cm/s
  • Loaded:
    • cm/s (during ground control)
    • 15 cm/s (support during spacewalks)
  • Unloaded: 10 cm/s
  • Loaded: to be determined
Composition 16 layers of high-modulus carbon fibre epoxy 19 layers of high-strength carbon fibre thermoplastic Carbon fibre composite.
Repairs Repaired on Earth. Designed to be repaired in space. Composed of removable sections that can be individually replaced in space. Designed to self-detach sections that can be repaired inside the Lunar Gateway.
Control Controlled by astronauts on the Space Shuttle. Controlled from the ground or by astronauts on the International Space Station. Primarily controlled autonomously. Can also be controlled from the ground or by astronauts on the Lunar Gateway.
Cameras

Two cameras:

  • One on the elbow
  • One on the wrist

Four colour cameras:

  • One on each side of the elbow
  • The other two on the "hands"

Six colour 4K cameras:

  • One 360-degree camera on each side of the elbow
  • One on each boom on swivel mounts
  • The other two on the "hands"
Operator United States Canada and United States Canada

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