Although Canada has been involved with the space race since the beginning, nothing has made our national pride glow like watching the space shuttles and seeing the big letters CANADA written across the Canadarm. The Canadarm was fist launched into space on November 13, 1981 as part of Columbia. During that mission, the Canadarm successfully flexed its muscles and secured its position in the future of space travel. It was developed by Spar Aerospace with the National Research Council and modelled after the human arm. Otherwise known as a Remote Manipulator System, it could lift 30 tonnes in space while being monitored and operated from the indoor shuttle flight deck. The Canadarm is about to introduce its new and improved sibling. Back in 1987, when documents were signed between countries to work towards a permanently manned Space Station, Canada agreed to provide a Mobile Servicing System (MSS). The MSS will be an integral part of the Space Station from the beginning, it will be used in the assembly, maintenance and servicing of the Station. In return, Canadians will be able to have full use of the Station and will assist with its management. Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette will be operating the new arm on its first mission and explains how in the following excerpt from a NASA Preflight Interview:
"This arm flies like an airplane, it's a six-dimension arm where you can rotate the tip of the arm, so you can translate that tip along the cargo bay of the shuttle and up the stack of the International Space Station. It is an absolute joy to fly. Right after the space walk is complete is when I am timelined in the flight to go on the controls of the Canadarm, as we call it in Canada, or the remote manipulator system. I will use the camera, which is mounted at the end of the tip of the arm, to survey all the targets that are placed on the Space Station, the space vision target. I survey them to see if they're in good shape, any problems with them, if...
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