Robotic Refueling Mission Nears Key Milestone

Spacewalker Mike Fossum carries the Robotic Refueling Mission module from shuttle Atlantis to its temporary platform on the International Space Station on July 12, 2011. A robotic maneuver in September 2011 will transfer RRM to its permanent location on station’s ExPRESS Logistics Carrier-4. Credit: NASA

NASA PR — NASA’s groundbreaking Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) will reach a key milestone in September when the International Space Station (ISS) robots transfer the module to its permanent home on space station’s ExPRESS Logistics Carrier-4. Robotic operations for the technology demonstration are currently slated to begin soon afterwards.

A joint effort between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, RRM is designed to demonstrate the technologies, tools, and techniques needed to robotically service satellites, especially those not built with servicing in mind.


Canada, Brazil to Cooperate on Space, S&T and Education

Canadian Prime Minister held talks with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during a state visit to the South American nation this week. The leaders agreed to cooperate in a broad range of areas, including space exploration, science and technology, and educational exchanges.

An excerpt from the official joint statement statement follows, with the full statement reproduced after it:

They affirmed their desire to initiate a Space Cooperation Dialogue and instructed the appropriate agencies and institutions in the two countries to explore possible avenues for cooperation in the use of outer space for peaceful purposes.


ISS Partners Discuss How to Use Station as Technology Test Bed

International Space Station

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — The Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) for the International Space Station partner agencies met Tuesday, July 26, to discuss how to use the space station as a test bed for technologies that will enable missions beyond low Earth orbit.

The board will begin identifying several specific technology collaboration initiatives based on possible future missions suggested by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group. These technology developments and demonstrations on the station could support voyages to an asteroid or Mars or the development of lunar habitats.


CSA Hails Space Shuttle Program

Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean’s
Space Shuttle Program Message

The Space Shuttle Program’s 30-year legacy represents an era of unprecedented achievements in spaceflight and space exploration.

For Canada, it has been the period during which our country rapidly developed specialized niche expertise in many space sectors, including scientific instruments and satellites, tele-communications, remote sensing, advanced vision systems, 3-D lasers, LIDARs and TriDARs.


Dextre Coming Soon to a $5 Bill Near You

CSA PR — The Bank of Canada has announced that Canadarm2 and Dextre will adorn the $5 bills of its new series of polymer bank notes. The series underlines the innovative spirit of the Canadian people by showcasing several great achievements in fields such as medicine, environmental sciences and space conquest. The Canadian robots on the International Space Station bank notes will enter circulation before the end of 2013.

Dextre to Get Work Out With Robotic Refueling Mission

This artistic representation shows Dextre (right) performing a robotic refueling task on RRM (center) task box, mounted to ELC4. (Image: NASA)


Satellites are designed to withstand a variety of challenges to ensure that the sensitive electronics on board can survive the effects of launch and perform for years in the harsh conditions of space. One of the major hurdles engineering teams face when designing a satellite is how much fuel it can carry to operate throughout its lifetime. Many satellites are left to die and then become space debris after they run out of fuel. But what if we were able to refuel them?


Canadian Space Revenues Exceeded $3 Billion in 2009

The Canadian Space Agency’s latest annual report, The State of the Canadian Space Sector 2009, shows that the nation’s space revenues exceeded $3 billion in that year. In the report, CSA President Steve MacLean wrote:

The talented men and women who make up the Canadian space workforce are the backbone of the space sector.  In 2009, workforce numbers experienced the second fastest growth rate (after 2004) since we started publishing this survey thirteen years ago.  The Canadian Space Sector now employs 7,564 people of which 3,770 are highly qualified professionals.


Dextre Ready for its Closeup Aboard ISS


Much like his Earth-based counterparts, the Space Station’s robotic handyman, Dextre is on call for any situation that may arise. But Dextre also has a “to-do” list. His first official task will take place on February 2-4, 2011 when he unpacks the Japanese Kounotori2 HTV-2 cargo spaceship as it makes its second visit to the International Space Station (ISS). It will also mark the first time that the mobile base carries Canadarm2 with Dextre on the end.


Canadians Redesign Tires for Use on Lunar Rovers

iRings lunar wheels undergo testing. Photo: Brad Jones/Neptec Design Group

McGill University Press Release

Creating a wheel for some of the worst potholes known to humankind is just one of the extraterrestrial challenges a team of McGill students and professors face in developing and testing a wheel prototype for the new Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR).

The new Canadian rover will be used during lunar exploration to carry payloads, cargo and crew, as well as enable drilling and excavation, manipulator and tool integration, and vision and state-of-the-art communications systems.


CSA’s Dextre Robotic Arm Ready for Duty on ISS


December 24, 2010 – Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic handyman aboard the International Space Station (ISS), successfully passed his final exam yesterday and is now officially certified for duty.

While riding on the end of Canadarm2, Dextre performed a series of steps to remove a 442-kg storage box known as a cargo transport carrier (a generic platform for ISS cargo and payloads) and relocate it to another worksite a short distance away. The move was necessary to free up the worksite for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, scheduled for delivery on STS-134 (the final Space Shuttle flight) in 2011.


SpaceX’s Success Gets the Attention of Foreign Space Officials

SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)
SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

SpaceX’s success in launching two Falcon 9 rockets and recovering a Dragon capsule from orbit last year has captured the attention of foreign space officials, who are eager for the services the company can provide and believe that valuable lessons can be learned from how the California-based start-up operates. Simonetta di Pippo, ESA’s director of human spaceflight, said:

“SpaceX certainly got our attention. This is a kind of revolution. We now know they can make it, and so we have to concentrate, on the government side, on new developments. We cannot just stick with our ATV now that the commercial sector is able to do this. Having visited the SpaceX facilities, I am not surprised by their success. But we need to react to it.”


ESA, CSA Renew Cooperation Agreement


Today, Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, and Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency, signed a new Cooperation Agreement between ESA and Canada that will extend their partnership for a further 10 years, until 2020.

ESA and Canada have enjoyed a 30-year partnership that has led to many successful space projects. They will now continue to build on their shared interests. Their focus will continue to be on space applications.


CSA Joins in Space Debris Group

Nov. 24, 2010

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has been accepted as a full member of the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC). This committee is an international governmental forum for the worldwide coordination of activities related to the issues of man-made and natural debris in space.

The primary purposes of the IADC are to exchange information on space debris research activities between member space agencies, to facilitate opportunities for cooperation in space debris research, to review the progress of ongoing cooperative activities, and to identify debris mitigation options. Being a member of this committee will provide the CSA with access to the latest research and activities related to space debris issues by the international members of the committee in order to mitigate and minimize potential threats to Canadian satellites and other space assets.  It will also permit a strengthening of Canadian research activities into space debris related activities through enhanced cooperation with international partners.


CSA Awards Lunar Rover Prototype Contracts to MDA, Neptec Design Group

Nov. 25, 2010

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is awarding two contracts valued at $11.5 million each to MDA and Neptec Design Group of Ottawa. Each company will develop two fully functional terrestrial prototypes of a lunar rover that could one day be part of a future space exploration mission. The investment flows from the Government of Canada’s 2009 Economic Action Plan, and aims to accelerate the development of terrestrial prototypes and their associated technologies to prepare Canada to play a credible role in future international exploration opportunities.