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article imageCanada contributes 'Canadarm3' to NASA's Lunar Gateway project

By Karen Graham     Mar 2, 2019 in Technology
Montreal - On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would join the Lunar Gateway — committing more than $150 million Canadian dollars toward the program over the next five years.
During a Canadian aerospace conference in November 2018, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine asked Canada to join the United States’ Lunar Gateway, an outpost it hopes to have orbiting the Moon by 2024.
“We can’t achieve what we want to achieve in space if any of us goes alone. We want you [Canada] involved in our return to the Moon in a big way," Bridenstine said.
It only took three months, and now our neighbor has committed to joining the lunar project in a big way. Canada has pledged to contribute a "Canadarm3" smart robotic arm to repair and maintain the Gateway, reports Space.com. Canada also pledges to spend C$2.05 billion (US$1.56 billion) on this project during the next 24 years.
The announcement was made at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) headquarters near Montreal. "Canada is going to the Moon," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference.
“Canada’s historic investment will create good jobs for Canadians, keep our astronaut program running and our aerospace industry strong and growing,” Trudeau said, “while opening up a new realm of possibilities for Canadian research and innovation.”
Also in attendance was Canada's very first astronaut, Marc Garneau, who went to space 35 years ago. Garneau now serves as Minister of Transport. "It will constitute, really, the next phase of our exploration in space. It's tremendously significant to Canada to be taking this next step in space exploration," Garneau said in a phone interview with Space.com.
Canada's investment in the Lunar Gateway not only covers the development and operations for Canadarm3 but an investment in the country's Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program that encourages small- and medium-sized Canadian businesses to develop lunar technologies in robotics, artificial intelligence, and health.
Canada space robotics
Canada is already a world leader in space robotics and has been a willing partner with NASA in developing space technologies. The Canadian Space Agency's contributions to the NASA space program dates back to the 1960s and led to the development of the first Canadarm over 30 years ago.
Canadarm (right) during Space Shuttle mission STS-72.
Canadarm (right) during Space Shuttle mission STS-72.
NASA
On its first mission, the robot arm, nicknamed the Canadarm, was used to aid in the capture and repair of an aging satellite. It was a high profile, record-making flight, and one that set the pace of what would be a busy career with Canadian participation every step of the way.
The Canadarm was first tested in orbit in 1981, on Space Shuttle Columbia's STS-2 mission. Its first operational use was on STS-3 to deploy and maneuver the Plasma Diagnostics Package.
After Canadarm2 was deployed to the ISS, the two arms were able to work in tandem together, earning the maneuver the nickname of "Canadian Handshake" in the media. Canadarm is now retired and can be seen at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
More about Canadarm3, Lunar Gateway project, 24year commitment, space robotics, Technology
 
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