Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

March 11, 2008 03:06 ET

CSA: Minister Prentice Witnesses Blast-off of Dextre, Canada's Two-armed Robot, to the International Space Station

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 11, 2008) - Dextre, Canada's latest contribution to the robotics systems on the International Space Station, was launched with Space Shuttle Endeavour this morning at 02:28 a.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Center. This historic mission STS-123 will complete the Mobile Servicing System, which includes Canadarm2 and the Mobile Base System.

"The space industry plays a key role within Canada's science and technology sector, and Endeavour is delivering Canadian ingenuity and innovation with this highly advanced robotic system," said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, at the launch. "Our Science and Technology Strategy - Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage - recognizes the importance of doing more to turn ideas into innovations that provide solutions to our environmental, health and other important challenges, and to improve Canada's economic competitiveness," he added.

Canadian Space Agency President Guy Bujold highlighted the importance of the mission for the Agency and Canadian robotics expertise. "The design and construction of Dextre demonstrate the very best of Canada's technological know-how. Dextre will carry out fine manipulation tasks that until now were performed by astronauts during spacewalks."

The two-armed specialized robot is to play a critical role in operations and maintenance outside the Space Station. It can remove and replace components that require precise handling, reducing the amount of time that astronauts must spend outside the Station and leaving them more time to perform scientific experiments aboard the space laboratory.

Like Canadarm2 and the Mobile Base System, Dextre can be controlled from a workstation inside the Station or by controllers on the ground in mission control centres in Houston, Texas and at Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec. Astronauts, cosmonauts, and controllers are trained to operate the Mobile Servicing Systems elements at the Agency's simulation facilities in Longueuil.

Canada is a partner in the International Space Station with the United States, Russia, Japan, and the European Space Agency. Once complete, the Station will be the largest space science and engineering project ever undertaken, covering an area as large as a Canadian football field (108 x 74 metres). Orbiting at some 400 kilometres above the earth, the Space Station is the third brightest object in the night sky.

More information about the mission and activities for students and teachers can be found at

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) coordinates all civil, space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. 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.

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