Nanoracks Signs Agreement with Canada’s Maritime Launch on Re-Use of C4M Upper Stages for In-Orbit Space Outposts

WASHINGTON, DC (NanoRacks PR) — Nanoracks, the world’s leading provider of commercial access to space, is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Canada’s Maritime Launch Services to work on re-purposing and re-using spent C4M upper rocket vehicle stages, which would be in-orbit after launch missions from Nova Scotia’s Canso Spaceport, Canada’s first and only commercial spaceport.

In 2018, Nanoracks was one of the awardees of a study contract by NASA to develop the future of commercial spaceflight in low-Earth orbit. Through that award, Nanoracks has been investigating the commercial case for repurposing in-space hardware, and this agreement with Maritime Launch further establishes the company’s commitment to innovating a more affordable and less-risky pathway to establishing in-space habitats (‘Outposts’) for future crewed missions, instead of fabricating modules on the ground, and subsequently launching them to orbit.


Canadian Space Robot Dextre to Expand Ability to Refuel Spacecraft in Orbit

Rendering of Dextre on the end of Canadarm2, holding an advanced vision system. (Credit: CSA/Neptec)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — From August 13 to 14, Dextre, Canada’s robotic handyman on the International Space Station, will conduct a demonstration of how robots could refuel satellites and spacecraft to extend their useful lifetimes.

NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) will use Dextre’s proven ability to perform highly delicate tasks on the International Space Station, to test the hardware and procedures needed to store and transfer cryogenic fluids.


Canadarm2 Spinoff Technology Transforming Surgery on Earth

Operating room (Credit: Synaptive Medical/Cicada Design Inc.)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Since its space debut in 1981, Canadarm has made its mark on the world stage. In exchange for Canadarm’s vital contributions to NASA‘s space shuttle program, Marc Garneau was granted a seat aboard Space Shuttle Challenger as part of Mission STS-41-G in 1984, making him the first Canadian astronaut to launch to space.


Canada Post Unveils Postage Stamp Celebrating Canadarm

Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen unveiled the Canadarm stamp together. (Credit: Canada Post)

Astronaut Jeremy Hansen unveils Canadarm stamp to celebrate Canadian achievements in robotics, science and technology.

TORONTO (Canada Post PR) — At approximately 9 a.m. EST, on November 13, 1981, the Canadarm was deployed from the Shuttle Columbia’s cargo bay for the first time. This marvel of Canadian engineering weighed less than 480 kilograms, and could lift more than 30,000 kilograms – the approximate weight of a city bus – using less power than an electric kettle.


MDA Continues Support for ISS Robotics

Dextre at the end of Canadarm2. (Credit: NASA)
Dextre at the end of Canadarm2. (Credit: NASA)

RICHMOND, BC (MDA PR) — MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (“MDA” or the “Company”) (TSX: MDA), a global communications and information company, announced today it has signed a contract amendment with the Canadian Space Agency for CA$35 million. The amendment provides funding for continued support to the ongoing robotic operations of the Mobile Servicing System on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Mobile Servicing System comprises Canadarm2, the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator known as “Dextre,” and the Mobile Base System. These three robotic systems perform a variety of operations ranging from resupply, maintenance, and servicing tasks on the space station that are critical to the on-going operations of the ISS.

About MDA

MDA is a global communications and information company providing operational solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide.

MDA’s business is focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, primarily in the Communications sector and the Surveillance and Intelligence sector. In addition, the Company conducts a significant amount of advanced technology development.

MDA’s established global customer base is served by more than 4,800 employees operating from 13 locations in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

The Company’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “MDA.”

Dextre to Assist Astronauts in Installing New Docking Port on Friday

Dextre at the end of Canadarm2 preparing to remove cargo from Dragon. (Credit: NASA)
Dextre at the end of Canadarm2 preparing to remove cargo from Dragon. (Credit: NASA)

LONGEUIL, QC (CSA PR) — Dextre, the Canadian robotic handyman on board the International Space Station (ISS), will have a very important job to do from August 17 to 19, 2016. Dextre will convert an existing docking port on the ISS into a spaceport able to welcome the upcoming new US commercial crew vehicles. This means that crew vehicles other than the Russian Soyuz will be able to dock to the ISS. An International Docking Adapter (IDA) was designed to convert the port and was shipped to the ISS on board SpaceX’s latest Dragon cargo ship. Next, Canada’s robots are being called in to do the heavy lifting.

Canada’s Advanced Vision System to Inspect Space Station

Rendering of Dextre on the end of Canadarm2, holding an advanced vision system.  (Credit: CSA/Neptec)
Rendering of Dextre on the end of Canadarm2, holding an advanced vision system. (Credit: CSA/Neptec)

LONGUEUIL, QC, Jan. 7, 2016 (CSA PR) – A contract to develop a new advanced space vision system that will be mounted on Dextre was announced today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Minister Bains was joined by Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary, and Sherry Romanado, Member of Parliament for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.

The contract, worth $1.7 million, was awarded to Neptec Design Group Ltd. of Ottawa, Ontario, to develop the design for the system, which will be launched in 2020.


Robotic Refueling Mission Continues on ISS

RRM operations demonstrate satellite-servicing technologies using the RRM module (right) and the Dextre robot (top center). Behind them, the ISS solar array is visible. (Credit: NASA)
RRM operations demonstrate satellite-servicing technologies using the RRM module (right) and the Dextre robot (top center). Behind them, the ISS solar array is visible. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — It’s back, it’s updated, and it’s making great progress – all on the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), a groundbreaking demonstration of new satellite-servicing technologies and techniques, recently resumed operations on the space station after a two-year hiatus. Within five days, the RRM team had outfitted the RRM module with fresh hardware for a series of technology demonstrations and tested a new, multi-capability inspection tool.


Canada Increases Commitment to Space Program

CSAOTTAWA, ONT. (CSA PR) — Industry Minister James Moore was joined today in Ottawa by Commander Chris Hadfield and astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques where he announced Canada’s commitment to fly two Canadian astronauts to space by 2024.

The announcement is the result of the Government of Canada’s decision to renew Canada’s participation in the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is a joint endeavour among space agencies from Canada, the United States, Japan, Russia, and the European Union. Canada is the 3rd country to extend its participation until 2024.

Today’s announcement follows in the footsteps of Col. Chris Hadfield’s historic mission as Commander of the ISS. This commitment will ensure that both Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques, Canada’s active astronauts will fly to space. It also signals Canada’s involvement in future space missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.


CSA Partners With SickKids Centre to Develop KidsArm

LONGUEIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Not much rivals the dexterity of a good surgeon’s hands. But humans being humans, fatigue or even tremors after a long day at the hospital can make things challenging, especially when operating on small children.

That is why Toronto’s SickKids Centre for Image-Guided Innovation & Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) turned to the Canadian space technology behind Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre and partnered with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to develop KidsArm.


Robots from Space Lead to One-Stop Breast Cancer Diagnosis Treatment

Dr. Mehran Anvari, chief executive officer and scientific director at the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation, with the Image-Guided Autonomous Robot (IGAR) manipulator. Image (Credit:  The Hamilton Spectator)
Dr. Mehran Anvari, chief executive officer and scientific director at the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation, with the Image-Guided Autonomous Robot (IGAR) manipulator.
(Credit: The Hamilton Spectator)

By Jessica Eagan
International Space Station Program Science Office
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

We may not be driving flying cars to work yet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot to be excited about from technology advances related to the space age. Instead of zipping past traffic jams, International Space Station-derived robotic capabilities are giving us a fast pass to life-saving surgical techniques with cancer-fighting finesse.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 232,340 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of 2013 alone. From that, about 39,620 women and 410 men will not survive.


Canadaarm2 to Catch a Dragon on ISS Flight

CSA PR — “Here, there be dragons”…the phrase used to designate the boundaries of the known world on historical maps seems fitting as the US space program embarks upon a new frontier in space exploration with the launch of the first commercial demonstration flight to the International Space Station. However, rarely were the monsters of yore as eagerly anticipated as SpaceX’s Dragon, the first privately built cargo ship destined for the orbiting outpost.


Ecliptic RocketCams Provide Video During Robot Refueling Mission

Pasadena, CA (Ecliptic PR) – Six rugged RocketCam™ color video cameras captured close-up views of the first phase of NASA’s teleoperated Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) demonstration, conducted March 7-9 on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS).

The RRM demo involves a complex, washing machine-sized experiment package conceived, designed, built and integrated by the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland (, leveraging the group’s decades of expertise leading Hubble servicing mission activities. The RRM module was launched to ISS onboard the final Shuttle mission in July, 2011 and transferred to the ISS exterior by spacewalking astronauts.


CSA’s Dextre Sets Record for Precision During Robotic Refueling Mission

Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) – Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic handyman on board the International Space Station (ISS), has accomplished the most intricate work ever performed by a robot in space. Over three days (March 7-9), Dextre successfully concluded the initial phases of the Robotic Refueling Mission with unprecedented precision. A collaboration between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, the Robotic Refueling Mission was designed to demonstrate the ability of using robots to refuel and service existing satellites in space—especially those not designed for repair. The mission also marks the first time Dextre was used for a technology research and development demonstration on board the Station.


Dextre’s Log: Robotic Refueling Mission Day 1

Four different views of Dextre as the robotic handyman removes the Wire-Cutting Tool from the Robotic Refueling Module on board the International Space Station (Source: NASA/CSA).

(CSA PR) Day 1 — The first day of Dextre’s most demanding mission wrapped up successfully on March 7 as the robotic handyman completed his three assigned tasks. Dextre successfully retrieved, inspected and stowed three of the four specialized tools built specifically for the Robotic Refueling Mission by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. After thorough checkouts, Dextre confirmed that the Safety Cap Tool, the Wire Cutter and Blanket Manipulation Tool and the Multifunction Tool passed mechanical and electrical functional checkouts and are ready for future operations.

Work continues today on the International Space Station when Dextre will perform the most intricate task ever attempted by a space robot. The 3.7-metre-high Dextre will use one of his new tools to slide a miniature hook under a wire with only about one millimetre of clearance—a maneuver that will require surgical precision while the robot combats the harsh temperature and dynamic lighting changes in space and the oscillations stemming from his perch on the end of Canadarm2.