Giving a helping hand in outer Space
The Canadarm first launched into Space aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. The Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (its official name) measures 15 metres in length and has six rotating joints that give it a range of movement mimicking the human arm.
Five Canadarms were used in the Space Shuttle program over its thirty-year span: they captured satellites, unpacked payloads and cargo, and cradled astronauts as they conducted inspections or maintenance. The Canadarm also played a key role in assembling the International Space Station. Known as RMS 201, this Canadarm was the first in Space and was aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during its final mission.
Spar Aerospace, the Canadarm’s primary contractor, designed and built the Canadarm in Toronto to exacting criteria for precision movement, manual and automatic operations, safety, reliability, and weight. Although it had never been tested in the harsh environment of Space, the Canadarm worked flawlessly straight out of the box.