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Canadarm poised to lay the exterior framework for the International Space Station

Press Release From: MDA
Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2000

The Canadarm, developed by MD Robotics, a subsidiary of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. , will play a pivotal role on STS-92. The 11-day mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center on October 11. The mission will rely on the 50-foot robotic arm to move more than 12 tons of space hardware and support astronauts during four scheduled space walks to complete electrical and data connections.

The first task for the Canadarm is to unberth the nine-ton Z1 truss from the shuttle's cargo bay, maneuver it into position, and then mate it with the Unity node. The Z1 truss forms the exterior framework of the station and provides enhanced voice and television capability.

The second component to be installed is the Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 (PMA3). Removing the PMA3 from the cargo bay is more challenging. With only six inches of clearance, the Canadarm will grapple the PMA3 and carefully remove it from its launch pallet. Once the component is clear of the structure, the PMA3 will be positioned and installed on Unity providing an additional shuttle docking port.

``We have updated all four Canadarm's to meet the demands of the space station assembly,'' said Sam Higson, MD Robotics' director of shuttle programs. ``As the station continues to grow, Canadarm's presence will be complemented by the arrival of the next generation Canadarm, the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, early next year.''

``This is just the beginning of many NASA space station related missions where the Canadarm will be the backbone of the operation,'' commented Mag Iskander, vice president and general manager of the Brampton-based organization. ``It is our experience and reliability in space robotics that make us well positioned to grow in the commercial utilization of the space station and satellite servicing.''

About MacDonald Dettwiler

MacDonald Dettwiler is an information company that provides essential information from anywhere in the world for decision making in the workplace. The Company operates its business through two principal groups: The Information Products Group delivers essential land information products and services that encompass legal, asset and geographical information; The Information Systems Group provides mission-critical information systems for monitoring activities on the planet, managing mobile assets and enabling mobile workforces. The Company employs more than 1,700 people through an international network of offices, subsidiaries and distributors. www.mda.ca

About MD Robotics

MD Robotics, a subsidiary of MacDonald Dettwiler, is the world's leading space robotics company, committed to offering hi-tech, sophisticated robotic and engineering solutions for space and terrestrial applications. www.mdrobotics.ca

About the International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest and most ambitious space program since the Apollo moon landings, and the largest scientific joint effort among nations in history. The International Space Station partners a global team led by NASA. Countries participating in the program include the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Brazil and a consortium of European communities under the flag of the European Space Agency. Each of the international partners is providing key elements to the program. The first components of the station were placed in orbit in late 1998. The space station will provide unique laboratories to conduct research in fields such as astronomy, life sciences and materials, as well as locations to assemble satellites and space platforms too large and fragile to launch directly from Earth. The advanced technologies being used to construct the station will find applications in many industries on earth.

Canada's contribution to the ISS is the Mobile Servicing System (MSS). The MSS is comprised of three components: the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, the Mobile Base System and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. The components are scheduled to be launched in April 2001, February 2002 and October 2003 respectively.

Note to Editors:

For a briefing on Canadarm's role on STS-92, timelines, photos and computer simulations visit our website: www.mdrobotics.ca

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