Canadian Manufacturing

MacDonald Dettwiler wins $5M contract for Space Station robotics work

The Canadian Space Agency funding covers service support for the Canadarm2 and the robotic "handyman" known as Dextre


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NASA describes the manipulator as the station’s “handyman.” It reduces the need for astronauts to make spacewalks by performing critical jobs such as changing batteries and replacing exterior cameras. PHOTO: NASA

VANCOUVER—Canadian communications and robotics firm MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. has signed a contract amendment with the Canadian Space Agency to prolong service support for a pair of robotics systems on the International Space Station.

The $5 million deal includes funding for the orbiting space station’s Mobile Servicing System, which includes the Canadarm2 and the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator. Better known as Dextre, NASA describes the manipulator as the station’s “handyman.” It reduces the need for astronauts to make spacewalks by performing critical jobs such as changing batteries and replacing exterior cameras.

The two pieces of equipment were both originally manufactured by MDA and are among Canada’s contributions to the space station.

Earlier this year, MDA said it may shift its headquarters to the U.S. as part of its $4.7 billion deal to buy DigitalGlobe and as a way to compete for more U.S. government contracts.


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