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MDA Space Secures $250M Contract to Pilot Robotics Operations on International Space Station

In a resounding vote of confidence in its exceptional capabilities, MDA Space has announced that it has secured a $250 million contract extension from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). This pivotal agreement will enable the company to continue its vital role in supporting robotics operations on the International Space Station (ISS) from 2025 to 2030.


Headquartered in Brampton, Ontario, MDA Space has established itself as a preeminent force in the realms of satellites, Earth and space observation, and space exploration and infrastructure. With an illustrious history spanning 55 years as a mission partner to the space industry, the company boasts an impressive track record, having successfully completed more than 450 missions.


Under the terms of the contract extension, MDA Space will assume the critical responsibilities of robotics flight-controller duties, overseeing mission operations on the ISS. This role is of paramount importance, as Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA Space, eloquently stated, "Robotic flight controllers are the pilots in the control room who make real-time decisions and plan exactly how robotics on the ISS are utilized and executed to support immediate and long-term mission plans."


Greenley further emphasized the significance of this contract, adding, "We're honored to be taking on this important role. This further solidifies MDA Space as a trusted mission partner and global leader in mission-critical space robotics operations and strategically positions our team to offer mission operations as a commercial service to customers globally."


MDA Space's involvement in the ISS's robotics operations is deeply rooted in its history as a co-developer of the Canadarm2 and the Mobile Servicing System (MSS). Canadarm2, the first key component of the MSS, is a remarkable 57.7-foot (17.6 m) robotic arm that MDA Space developed in collaboration with the CSA. This innovative arm features identical manipulators known as Latching End Effectors (LEEs) at each end, equipped with cables that tighten to ensure a strong grip, allowing the robotic arm to firmly grasp objects and latch itself to the station.


The MSS also encompasses Dextre, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, a robotic hand designed to perform vital maintenance tasks on the ISS, such as changing batteries and replacing cameras outside the station. Equipped with lights, video equipment, a tool platform, and four tool holders, Dextre's dual-arm design significantly reduces the need for risky spacewalks.


Completing the system is the Mobile Base System (MBS), which provides a movable work platform for Canadarm2 and Dextre. The MBS traverses the Mobile Transporter rail car along the station's truss rails, granting it access to eight workstations with power connections, enabling it to navigate the main trusses and access various areas for maintenance and operation.


This contract extension not only reinforces MDA Space's position as a trusted partner in space exploration but also strategically positions the company to offer its mission operations expertise as a commercial service to customers globally. Earlier this month, MDA Space unveiled its MDA Skymaker product line, a suite of space robotics solutions purpose-built to meet the diverse needs of its customers, further solidifying its commitment to innovation and addressing the evolving demands of the space industry.


As humanity continues to push the boundaries of space exploration, the role of robotics in maintaining and operating critical infrastructure like the ISS cannot be overstated. MDA Space's proven expertise and unwavering dedication to delivering mission-critical solutions make it an invaluable asset in this endeavor. With this contract extension, the company not only reinforces its position as a global leader in space robotics but also paves the way for future innovations that will shape the course of humanity's journey among the stars.

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