Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

March 18, 2008 10:34 ET

It's Alive! Dextre Flexes its Muscles, Gets Ready to Work on the International Space Station

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 18, 2008) - After a picture-perfect night launch on March 11 and three spacewalks to assemble it, Dextre was activated today. Canada's advanced, two-armed robot is now successfully installed on the International Space Station and ready for action. Endeavour's Canadarm lifted Dextre from its cradle in the Shuttle payload bay and handed it over to the International Space Station's Canadarm2 in a majestic manoeuvre known as the "Canadian handshake in space."

Now that Dextre is installed, Canada's Mobile Servicing System, an innovative suite of space robotics on the International Space Station, is complete. Dextre can be carried by two elements, the mobile base and Canadarm2, or move independently. Dextre adds robotic tools and a range of fine manipulation abilities to construction and maintenance operations on the Space Station, which is now much larger than in 2001 when Canadarm2 was installed. Dextre will accelerate assembly activities on the Station.

"Canadians everywhere can be proud of the ingenuity and innovation which have made Canada a space robotics leader," said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). "Our contribution to the International Space Station has opened doors for Canadian scientists and industry in a quest for discovery that has great potential for bringing real benefits to humanity."

Over the next few months, the two-armed robot will be heavily tested to validate its performance. The addition of Dextre means that astronauts can spend less time on spacewalks and more time inside the International Space Station on microgravity science and industrial research.

"The installation of Dextre marks the culmination of years of hard work by passionate and dedicated employees of the Canadian Space Agency and of our industry partners," said Guy Bujold, CSA President. "The team that brought Dextre to life is an example of true Canadian excellence. While Dextre extends the reach of Canadian robotics in space, its creators are inspiring young Canadians to reach for their dreams."

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.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Space Agency
    CSA Media Relations Office
    450-926-4370
    www.space.gc.ca