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First Spacewalk for a Canadian Astronaut, Activation of Canadarm2

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Sunday, April 22, 2001

At 7:45 (EDT) this morning, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield stepped out of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and into Canadian history. Hadfield became the first Canadian astronaut ever to perform a spacewalk when he and his co-spacewalker, Scott Parazynski, exited the Shuttle to deploy Canadarm2, the next-generation robotic arm that will assemble the International Space Station.

"For the first time a Canadian has walked out into space with nothing but a space suit between himself and the universe," said the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency. "Canadarm2 will play a critical role in the building of the International Space Station. Canada's astronauts and engineers are highly skilled and highly motivated-they are playing a vital role in the completion of this orbiting laboratory."

Hadfield, riding on the end of the Shuttle's Canadarm, and Parazynski removed the eight one-metre-long superbolts that fastened Canadarm2 to its packing crate. The astronauts then unfolded the arm and secured it at its hinges by tightening eight bolts called Expandable Diameter Fasteners. The two spacewalkers experienced some difficulties ensuring an appropriate torque level had been placed on the bolts. However, by taking the pistol grip tool from automatic to manual mode, they were able to securely tighten the bolts in place.

"This is a spectacular view," said Hadfield as he exited the hatch and floated into space. At the end of the spacewalk, as the Shuttle flew over Atlantic Canada and Hadfield and Parazynski prepared to enter the hatch, ground support crew led by CSA Astronaut Steve Maclean, played a rendition of Canada's national anthem from a hockey game at the Montreal Forum. The anthem was played as a tribute to the many Canadians that have worked on this mission. "It opens the door to what all of us can be doing here internationally, beginning to explore space as a planet," said Hadfield from outside the Shuttle. The spacewalk lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes.

Canadarm2 was then brought to life from inside the Station and put through a series of tests to ensure all its systems were functioning properly. According to Mac Evans, President of the Canadian Space Agency, the arm performed as flawlessly as its predecessor, the Shuttle's Canadarm: "The deployment of Canadarm2 is the culmination of years of hard work on the ground in Canada. The Canadian Space Agency is proud of this outstanding workmanship in Canadian robotics innovation."

Tomorrow, Canadarm2 will reach out and grasp the Destiny Space Lab attaching itself to the International Space Station (scheduled for 11:51 am EDT). The next-generation robotic arm was built under the guidance of MDRobotics in Brampton, Ontario. Canadian Companies from all regions of the nation participated in building Canadarm2.

Media Program for 23 April 2001 (Flight Day 5)

  • 6:26am EDT (TBC): Canadarm2 steps off its pallet
  • 11:11 am EDT (TBC) : Installation of the Italian Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) by Canadarm
  • 11:51 am EDT (TBC): Canadarm2 grapples Destiny lab
  • 1:06 pm EDT (TBC): US downlink (Canadian media are invited to view the conference at the CSA and at JSC, but may not ask questions)
  • 1:30 pm EDT (TBC): NASA Status Briefing on the activation of Canadarm2. CSA's Benoit Marcotte, Director, Operations Engineering, will participate in the briefing. Media are invited to attend both at JSC and at the CSA, and may ask questions in both locations

    CSA spokespersons will be available for interviews at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and at the CSA's headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

    For live coverage, media can log on to the NASA TV satellite on GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency of 3880 Mhz and audio of 6.8 Mhz. In cooperation with Sympatico-Lycos, the CSA also brings you mission highlights live from NASA TV at: www.space.sympatico.ca.

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    For more information, contact:
    Media Relations Office
    Canadian Space Agency
    Tel.: (450) 926-4345 or 4370
    Fax: (450) 926-4352

    Mission STS-100 Website: www.space.gc.ca/sts100-mission

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