The Canadarm

What is it?

The Canadarm is a special arm that Canada created for people with amputated arms. Just kidding! The Canadarm is a mechanical arm that the best country in the world, Canada, has created to help the United States with the space shuttle program. Its real name is Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) . It is used on board in space shuttles, like Discovery and Columbia. It is an important part in history because is establishes the birth of robotic devices in space, shows Canada's involvement in space research even though Canada does not have a space program of its own.


The Canadarm was as an idea was introduced in 1974. Spar, an aerospace company, was the head contractor for the arm and the development for the Canadarm started in 1975. Between 1975 and today, Canada has built five Canadarms for NASA. The Canadian government funded the project using around $108 million on each arm. The first arm was finished in 1981. The second arm was built in January 1983. The third arm was built in December 1983. The fourth arm was built in 1985, and the last arm was built in August 1993. The first time the arm was used in space was in November 1981 on the Columbia. The crew consisted of Joe Engle, Richard Truly, Thomas Mattingly II, and Henry Hartsfield Jr.The purpose of the mission was to test how the arms worked in space. The first real mission that the Canadarm had was on March 1982 when the arm had to deploy and maneuver the Plasma Diagnostics Package and that was the first object to be held by the Canadarm. These arms were used until it was retired in 2011 on the shuttle Atlantis.

Why use it?

The Canadarm is used in space for many things. It can be used to deploy and repair satellites, moving cargo, and positioning astronauts to work on specific devices in space. The arm also has a camera at the end of it to take videos or pictures of anything it likes. The Canadarm is also used to check out the space shuttle to see if there is any damage to the shuttle. It is also much safer for astronauts to use the Canadarm because it simplifies space walks. If the Canadarm was not invented, and astronauts keep using bungee cords to perform spacewalks, the astronauts would be taking a high risk of death. This is because when you are doing space walks, you are only connected to a bungee cord and could snap at any minute. Now with the Canadarm in place, astronauts can fasten themselves securely on a seat on the Canadarm, and perform spacewalks or missions more safely.
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Where is it Located?

The Canadarm is Located in the shuttle bay of the space shuttle. There is also a wireless control box inside the shuttle to access the Canadarm easily. There are 2 cameras on the Canadarm, where the joints are, and there are also 5 computers on the shuttle acting like the "brain" of the Canadarm.

Memorable Flights

November 1981- First Deployment, Test Missions were run

October 1984- First Canadian Astronaut Mission, Marc Garneau

January 1986- First teacher in space, but all of the crew die because of the Challenger explosion

December 1988- First Canadarm of the Shuttle Atlantis

April 1990- The Canadarm delivers the Hubble Space Telescope

May 1992- First Canadarm of the Shuttle Endeavour

February 2011-Last Flight with the Canadarm for Discovery

May 2011-Last flight with the Canadarm for Endeavour

July 2011-Last flight with the Canadarm for Atlantis

The Canadarm: Celebrating 30 Years of Success


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