BRAMPTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2012) - Today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), participated in the unveiling of the Next-Generation Canadarm project (NGC).
"Like all Canadians, I am proud of the iconic Canadarm, that served the Space Shuttle Program for three decades, as well as the Next-Generation Canadarm, which will further Canada's legacy of excellence in space robotics," said Minister Goodyear. "As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Canada in space, this is but one example of how our Government's investment in innovation continues to drive science and technology."
The NGC consists of four versatile state-of-the-art robotic prototypes and a mission control station. Minister Goodyear, accompanied by Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield toured MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates' facilities in Brampton, Ontario, where the NGC prototypes, Canadarm2 and Dextre were designed and built for the CSA. The Brampton facility is also preparing the original Canadarm for its future public display.
In 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan allocated $53.1 million over three years to the Canadian Space Agency to maintain Canada's leadership in the design and construction of the next generation of the Canadarm. The resulting robotic systems provide Canada the capability to study solutions for potential future missions or to service several types of spacecraft-from space telescopes to refueling satellites. NGC's 15-metre robotic arm can fit inside the average mini-van and will fit onboard future smaller spacecraft. A smaller, 2.5 metre robotic arm is equipped with its own set of sophisticated tools and was designed to repair satellites in space. A test-bed allows engineers to simulate bringing two spacecraft together for operations in close-contact. A second test facility simulates the steps required to dock two vehicles together and a mission operations station allows all NGC's systems to be operated remotely.
"Regardless of future space destinations, space robotics will be required for a variety of missions, from rovers that act as robotic planetary explorers to robots that will repair and refuel satellites and space telescopes" explained Gilles Leclerc, Director General of Space Exploration at CSA. "No matter the mission, Canada will be ready."
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $8 billion in initiatives supporting science, technology and the growth of innovation firms in Canada, including $5 billion for advanced research, education and training; $2 billion for post-secondary infrastructure; and $1 billion for applied research and financing. This funding has helped to make Canada a world leader in post-secondary education research and to create the knowledge and highly skilled workforce that are required for a more prosperous economy.