Canada to Enter into Contract with MDA to Build Canadarm3

Canada intends to enter into a contract with Brampton-based company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Inc. (MDA) to build Canadarm3, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains announced on June 26.

This smart robotic system is Canada’s contribution to the United States-led Lunar Gateway for the Artemis program, the next major international collaboration in human space exploration.

Canadarm3 will be composed of a next-generation smart robotic arm, a small dexterous arm and a set of specialized tools. Using advanced machine vision, cutting-edge software and advances in artificial intelligence, this highly autonomous system will be able to perform tasks without human intervention.

Canadarm3 on Lunar Gateway
Rendering of Canadarm3 robotic arm on Lunar Gateway station in lunar orbit. (Image credit: Canadian Space Agency)

MDA has four decades of expertise gained from flagship space robotics programs like the original Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre for the new project.

“Our Government is committed to the future of space exploration and ensuring Canada remains a global leader in space robotics. Our commitment to contribute Canadarm3 to the Lunar Gateway will generate high-quality jobs and economic benefits for Canadians while ensuring that our space industry continues to lead and grow. Canada will continue to push the boundaries of human ambition in space exploration, and inspire generations of kids – and adults – to always aim higher and aspire to something greater,” said Minister Navdeep Bains.

“As the Government of Canada’s central purchaser, my department is working closely with the Canadian Space Agency to build the next-generation Canadarm. We are proud to be leveraging our world-leading, domestic expertise in space robotics to contribute to future space exploration, while creating opportunities for our small and medium enterprises here at home,” said Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

In 2019, Canada became the first nation to join the United States-led Lunar Gateway, the next major international collaboration in human space exploration following the legacy of the International Space Station (ISS). The Gateway is an important part of an ambitious plan by NASA and international partners, including Canada, to send humans deeper into space than ever before.

In February 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $2.05 billion over 24 years in Canada’s participation in lunar initiatives, including building Canadarm3 for the Lunar Gateway and establishing the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP).

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