Atlantis has competed its last landing and the Space Shuttle program has come to end after 30 glorious years. Part of the retirement process also affected the iconic robotic Canadarm. The Canadarm is the nick name for the Shuttle Remote Manipulator system created by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) Ltd.
The 15 metre long robotic appendage is one of five that have flown aboard the 91 shuttle missions,. They have been used to capture satellites from orbit and launching others. The Canadarm has also moved huge payloads to the International Space Station and acted as a platform for astronauts on 115 space walks.
It has been in use since the second shuttle mission in 1981. It is reputed to have logged nearly 400 million miles and has orbited the Earth close to 15,000 times. The image of the device is to grace the back of the Canadian five dollar bill soon as tribute to the Canadian expertise in space.
Dr. Christian Sallaberger, VP of space exploration at MDA said that Canadian expertise in space robotics is unsurpassed. They were pleased that our technology and engineering solutions have received the highest of honours, to be showcased on the back of the five-dollar bill.