Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Robots at Work: Canadarm2 & Dextre | International Space Station

Robots at Work: Canadarm2 & Dextre | International Space Station

The Canadarm2 robotic arm with Dextre, its fine-tuned robotic hand attached, extends from the International Space Station while orbiting 263 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.
Dextre, the fine-tuned robotic hand attached to the Canadarm2 robotic arm, extends from the International Space Station while orbiting 259 miles above the Pacific Ocean southwest of Baja California.

The 17-meter-long (55+ feet) Canadarm2 robotic arm, with the 3.7m (12 feet) high Dextre fine-tuned robotic hand attached is pictured here. Canadarm2 and Dextre are part of Canada's contribution to the International Space Station (ISS). Canadarm2 was extensively involved in the assembly of the orbiting laboratory.

Dextre tackles the tough or routine jobs that need to be done in the harsh environment of space. The Station's robotic assistant allows astronauts to spend more time doing scientific experiments instead of performing risky spacewalks. 

Dextre's body was designed to move in many different ways. Each of its arms has seven joints that can move up and down, go from side to side, and rotate. This large range of motion means Dextre can actually carry out more complex movements than a human arm. Each hand has a retractable motorized wrench, a camera and lights for close-up viewing, and a retractable connector to provide power, data and video connection. The robot can carefully grip delicate equipment without causing damage. For example, it can successfully manipulate small safety caps, cables and wires with minute precision—all while being controlled from Earth, hundreds of kilometers away. Dextre can can ride on the end of Canadarm2 to move from each worksite or be ferried on the Mobile Base System to work almost anywhere on the ISS. 

The robot is operated by ground control teams at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) headquarters outside Montreal, Quebec, and at NASA.

Discover more about Canadian space robotics:

The International Space Station (ISS) Program’s greatest accomplishment is as much a human achievement as it is a technological one—how best to plan, coordinate, and monitor the varied activities of the Program’s many organizations.

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the ISS. The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

Image Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)

Image Dates: June 9-14, 2024

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