MDA Delivers Robotic Controls to the International Space Station

Press Release From: MDA
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2001

The International Space Station (ISS) took delivery today of another piece of Canadian technology, the Robotic Work Station (RWS). Developed by MD Robotics, a subsidiary of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. , under contract to NASA, the RWS is the control system that astronauts will use to operate Canadarm 2, the new Canadian robotic system designed to build and maintain the Space Station. Two work stations were launched today on-board STS-102, one to be mounted in the U.S. Lab Module and the second later in the Cupola.

This highly integrated system provides camera views and sophisticated computer commands to control the movement of Canada's new 17-metre, dual ended robotic arm. The RWS can automatically detect the arm's movement and process information relative to the arm's position and task, to ensure safe operation and handling of payloads.

"Developing this complex system to provide a seamless interface between man and machine has produced some pretty remarkable technology," said Chris Woodland, Director of the Mobile Servicing System program at MD Robotics. "Now the focus is to provide management and engineering services to maintain the integrity of the system while on-orbit, and apply the technology to terrestrial opportunities."

MD Robotics, as the prime contractor to NASA, developed the RWS and was responsible for integration of the system. Major team members include its parent company, MDA of Richmond, B.C., and EMS Technologies of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec.

In February, MD Robotics delivered the mission critical software for the robotic system. Now, with the RWS in place, the International Space Station is ready for the April arrival of the next generation robotic arm, Canadarm 2, also developed by MDA. The final two components of the Mobile Servicing System, the Mobile Base and Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, are scheduled to be launched in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

MD Robotics developed the Mobile Servicing System, Canada's contribution to the International Space Station, under contract to the Canadian Space Agency.

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