Canada's main contribution to the US Space Shuttle program has been the Canadian Space Agency robotic manipulator arms, Canadarm and Canadarm2.
Also called the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, the second-generation Canadarm2 helped build the International Space Station, and has been used there to support astronauts working in space, move equipment and supplies, perform maintenance, and manipulate large payloads.
The CSA has unveiled its third-generation Canadarm prototypes, known as the Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) project. It consists of four robotic elements -- the Large Canadarm, Small Canadarm, Proximity Operations Systems Testbed, and Semi-Autonomous Docking System -- and the Missions Operations Station. The testbed comprises two industrial robotic systems that will simulate bringing two moving spacecraft within a few meters of each other. The mission operations station allows all of the NGC systems to be operated remotely. Combined, all five form a facility the CSA says will help it test and develop new mission concepts and hardware.
Click on the image below to check out the evolution of the Canadarm.
The NGC Large Canadarm is a 15m robotic arm that fits inside a minivan when its segments are telescoped together. Although its reach is as long as Canadarm2's, it is lighter and folds up more compactly to fit on future, smaller spacecraft. It will be used on Earth as a testbed to simulate arm deployment during tasks such as capturing and docking spacecraft for refueling. (Source: NASA)
Rob, the Canadarm was designed to work in a weightless, zero-G environment, as we discussed below regarding Lou's comment. So the only "crossover" apps would be others in space, since the arms are too heavy to operate in Earth's 1G.
At the Design News webinar on June 27, learn all about aluminum extrusion: designing the right shape so it costs the least, is simplest to manufacture, and best fits the application's structural requirements.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.