Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

September 17, 2009 16:35 ET

Canadian Space Agency: Canadian Cosmic Catch

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2009) - Today at 3:47 p.m. EDT, the Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) Canadarm2 successfully captured an unpiloted, free-flying Japanese vehicle -a first Canadian cosmic catch for the robotic arm on the International Space Station (ISS). Following this delicate capturing maneuver, Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk will take over the controls of the arm and dock the carrier onto the ISS to finalize the rendezvous.

"The Canadarm2 performs so smoothly and elegantly that this maneuver looks simple to the untrained eye," said Astronaut Chris Hadfield onsite at the CSA Headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec, speaking of this historic moment. "During my last mission back in 2001, I installed the Canadarm2 onto the ISS. Already, we all had great expectations of what the arm would be able to do. More recently, as I trained with Robert for this mission, I gained a full appreciation of all this arm's capabilities and how critical it is for the continuing support to the ISS. This particular task was not a small one and I congratulate the astronauts and the ground crews which have been working on this operation for months."

Known as HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle), the automated Japanese supply ship launched on its maiden flight to the Space Station on September 10, 2009. It will deliver 6 000 kg of cargo, both pressurized and unpressurized to the ISS. Robert Thirsk will use the Canadarm2 once again on September 23 to extract two science experiments from inside the cargo craft and place them on the Japanese Kibo module's external platform (installed in July 2009 by astronaut Julie Payette). The HTV will remain docked to the Station until mid-October as astronauts unpack the supplies, provisions and food.

For details on the mission, visit the Canadian Space Agency website at

Video, animations and pictures are available at this address:

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, the CSA coordinates all civil space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. The CSA directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: earth observation, space science and exploration, satellite communications, and space awareness and learning. By leveraging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Space Agency
    Media Relations