CSA PR – “Here, there be dragons”…the phrase used to designate the boundaries of the known world on historical maps seems fitting as the US space program embarks upon a new frontier in space exploration with the launch of the first commercial demonstration flight to the International Space Station. However, rarely were the monsters of yore as eagerly anticipated as SpaceX’s Dragon, the first privately built cargo ship destined for the orbiting outpost.
Pasadena, CA (Ecliptic PR) – Six rugged RocketCam™ color video cameras captured close-up views of the first phase of NASA’s teleoperated Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) demonstration, conducted March 7-9 on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS).
The RRM demo involves a complex, washing machine-sized experiment package conceived, designed, built and integrated by the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland (http://ssco.gsfc.nasa.gov), leveraging the group’s decades of expertise leading Hubble servicing mission activities. The RRM module was launched to ISS onboard the final Shuttle mission in July, 2011 and transferred to the ISS exterior by spacewalking astronauts.
Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) – Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic handyman on board the International Space Station (ISS), has accomplished the most intricate work ever performed by a robot in space. Over three days (March 7-9), Dextre successfully concluded the initial phases of the Robotic Refueling Mission with unprecedented precision. A collaboration between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, the Robotic Refueling Mission was designed to demonstrate the ability of using robots to refuel and service existing satellites in space—especially those not designed for repair. The mission also marks the first time Dextre was used for a technology research and development demonstration on board the Station.
(CSA PR) Day 1 — The first day of Dextre’s most demanding mission wrapped up successfully on March 7 as the robotic handyman completed his three assigned tasks. Dextre successfully retrieved, inspected and stowed three of the four specialized tools built specifically for the Robotic Refueling Mission by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. After thorough checkouts, Dextre confirmed that the Safety Cap Tool, the Wire Cutter and Blanket Manipulation Tool and the Multifunction Tool passed mechanical and electrical functional checkouts and are ready for future operations.
Work continues today on the International Space Station when Dextre will perform the most intricate task ever attempted by a space robot. The 3.7-metre-high Dextre will use one of his new tools to slide a miniature hook under a wire with only about one millimetre of clearance—a maneuver that will require surgical precision while the robot combats the harsh temperature and dynamic lighting changes in space and the oscillations stemming from his perch on the end of Canadarm2.
Robotic Refueling Mission Begins: March 7, 2012
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CSA PR — 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?
Video Caption: Ever wonder how Santa makes it around the globe in a single night?
This NASA animation finally reveals the secret magic that fuels Santa’s sleigh! In the spring of 2012, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will conduct tests on board the International Space Station to show how Dextre, the Canadian-built robotic handyman in the video, could refuel and refurbish satellites in space. In the meantime, Dextre would like to thank his friends at NASA for this wonderful animation and wishes everyone back home on Earth peace and joy for the holiday season! (Animation credit: NASA)
Editor’s Note: So, we’ve spend billions and billions of dollars to launch people into space, and Santa does it with eight tiny reindeer pulling a sleigh? And with the space shuttle retired, we can’t even get into space anymore.
Well, bah humbug to that! It’s clearly a very Merry Christmas for some people, but certainly not the American taxpayers footing the bill for the billions we’re spending on shuttle replacements. Come the first of the year, I’m demanding full Congressional hearings on how we’re losing the space race to some old Scandinavian guy who uses 18th century technology and gives away things like a damned Socialist.
CSA PRESS RELEASE
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.
CSA PRESS RELEASE
December 24, 2010 â€“ 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.
Shares of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates fell sharply on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday after the Canadian government signaled that it would block the company’s sale of its space division to an American defense contractor.
Shares of the Richmond, BC-based company, which had been trading at a high of $47 Canadian on Wednesday, fell to $42.85 Canadian on Thursday after Industry Minister Jim Prentice indicated that the”investment is not likely to be of net benefit to Canada.” The stock recovered slight to finish the week at $43.03 Canadian.
MDA had planned to sell its space division to U.S.-based Alliant Techsystems (ATK) for $1.325 billion in order to focus on its information systems business. Stockholders overwhelmingly approved the sale last month.
However, opponents said the sale would devastate the Canadian space industry, give Americans access to taxpayer-subsidized technology, and compromise the nation’s sovereignty. MDA built the Canadarms and the Dextre robot for the space shuttle and International Space Station, both funded by the Canadian government.
Declaring the nation to be at a crossroads in space, the Toronto Star is urging Canadian policymakers to chart a firm course for the country.
Star editors point to three worrisome signs: Canada’s active astronaut corps has dwindled down to three; its last contribution to the International Space Station, the Dextre robot, was successfully installed on the space station last week; and the builder of Dextre and Radarsat 2 is up for sale to an American defense contractor.
The paper urged Conservative Industry Jim Prentice “to weigh the merits â€“ and demerits” of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates’ plan to sell its space division to Alliant Technosystems. Beyond that, the Star editors said policymakers need to define what precisely Canada should do in space.
“Marc Garneau, former astronaut and past head of the Canadian Space Agency (and a future Liberal candidate), says what we need is a comprehensive space strategy. ‘We are very much at a crossroads, at a time when even India, China and Brazil have got very ambitious space programs,’ says Garneau. ‘It seems everybody’s going up there while we are beginning to slip,’” the editors wrote.