Canada’s Dextre Robot to Perform First Ever Self Repair in Space


The following release from CSA, the Canadian Space Agency, makes a good point about the potential for self-repair off Earth.  Although it may seem like a small step, and in some ways it is, Canada’s progress with the Canadarm2 and Dextre robot might be considered another example of how the International Space Station program is helping to gradually build the base level expertise which will ultimately be needed to branch out into the solar system. Even the most starry eyed space cadet has got to realize that it is not always going to be effective or practical to send astronauts to construct or repair when the task can be handled with robotics.

Canadian Space Agency Release

Dextre becomes the first robot to repair itself in space

Over the next 7 days, Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) robotic handyman aboard the International Space Station (ISS), will perform the first robotic self-repair in space. Dextre will replace two cameras on Canadarm2 and the mobile base, which together form the three main components of Canada’s Mobile Servicing System. The operations, including preparation and replacement of the cameras, can be followed live on Twitter and Ustream. They will take place between May 22-29, with the main work scheduled for May 23 and May 27.

In addition to repairing and replacing two valuable cameras used for robotic operations, Dextre’s task has far-reaching implications for what robots could do in the future. The work done by Dextre in the coming week will lay the foundation for the future when one day, robots will be sent to repair, refuel and reposition orbiting satellites. On-orbit robotic servicing could therefore save satellite operators from the significant costs of building and launching new replacement satellites, and help reduce space debris.

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