A Legacy of Success
On April 19, 2001, Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered Canadarm2 to the International Space Station (ISS). A few days later, Chris Hadfield, on the first spacewalk ever performed by a Canadian astronaut, would bolt the second-generation arm to the Station and power it up.
This was the beginning of a ten-year legacy that continues to this day, an ongoing story of Canadian space technology success.
Since that time Canadarm2 has assembled most of the ISS in space. It has been used to move hundreds of tons of supplies and equipment and even astronauts, supporting about 100 spacewalks to date.
Its work on the Space Station has guaranteed Canada access to the ISS' laboratories. Canadian scientists have had the opportunity to investigate issues in the weightless environment that can benefit Canadians in many diverse ways: from neurology to cardiovascular health, to the science of aging and material processing.
Canadarm2's contribution also ensures Canadian astronauts are part of the international crews on board the Space Station. In late November of 2012, Chris Hadfield will return to the Space Station for Canada's second long-duration mission, Expedition 34/35, where he will get behind the controls of the arm. Six Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronauts have lived and worked on board the ISS to date: Julie Payette (missions STS-96 and 127), Marc Garneau (STS-97), Chris Hadfield (STS-100), Steve MacLean (STS-115), Dave Williams (STS-118) and Bob Thirsk (Expedition 20/21).
As of April 2011, the ISS' US, Japanese and European components have all been added to the Station. There is one more planned Russian module to be installed in 2012. Canadarm2's main role now and in the future is to perform maintenance and repairs of the ISS and grapple unpiloted cargo ships like Japan's HTV. Dextre, the Canadian-built robotic handyman on board the ISS, will also perform more delicate tasks for the upkeep on the Station. After ten years and many more to come, Canadarm2 has proven that Canada is still on the forefront of space robotics technology.
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