After a six-day delay due to bad
weather, Canada’s newest contribution to the Station-the Mobile Base System
(MBS), launched today at 17:23 EDT onboard Space Shuttle Endeavour.

On earth it’s often said the most important feature of real estate is:
location, location, location. On the International Space Station, orbiting
400 kilometres above earth, location is as important – especially when it
comes to assembling, maintaining and repairing hard-to-reach components.
Getting tools and equipment to the right place at the right time will be the
job of the Mobile Base.

The 1450-kilogram aluminum work platform, which will be mounted on the
U.S.-built Mobile Transporter, will trundle along rails that span the length
of the Station. At a stately pace of about .09 kilometres per hour, it will
take just over an hour to cover 109 metres of track.

The MBS will play an essential role in assembling and maintaining the
Station over its lifetime. Capable of carrying payloads weighing a total of
20,900 kilograms, it will transport Canadarm2, as well as Space Station
structures and space experiments, to wherever they are needed. Astronauts
will also use the Mobile Base to store tools and equipment needed during

“Canada has built a space workhorse critical to the Station’s construction.
This Mobile Base will be part of the first space railway system, helping to
build the International Space Station,” said Minister Allan Rock, Industry
Minister and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency.

“The design and construction of the Mobile Base System demonstrates the very
best of Canadian innovation and industry partnerships, representing Canadian
companies from coast to coast,” added Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, Minister of
Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development).

During a future space activity, Canadarm2 will for the first time step off
the Station’s laboratory module onto the MBS, a move that will greatly
extend its reach. The arm has been attached to the laboratory since being
installed by Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield and his crewmates during a
shuttle flight in April 2001.

The jointed design of Canadarm2 allows it to “walk” end over end by grasping
connecting devices on the exterior of the Station, but there is currently
only one such device, which is located on the lab. The Mobile Base System
has four connecting devices, one on each corner. Canadarm2 will be able to
reach considerably more of the Station by riding on the platform.
During one of the three spacewalks planned for this mission, astronauts will
also replace a wrist roll joint that has been malfunctioning on Canadarm2.
Unlike the shuttle’s Canadarm, the Station’s arm cannot be returned to
earth, so it was designed to be repaired on orbit.

The Mobile Base System was built by MD Robotics Inc., the Brampton, Ontario,
company that also built Canadarm2 and the shuttle’s Canadarm. It was
assisted by Canadian companies from all regions of the nation: Ebco
Aerospace (Delta, B.C.); EMS Technologies Canada Ltd. (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue,
Que.); FELLFAB Limited (Hamilton, Ont.); HŽroux Devtek (Scarborough, Ont.);
MBM Tool & Machine limited (Woodbridge, Ont.); Rostar Precision Inc.
(Brampton, Ont.); Wardrop Engineering Inc. (Winnipeg, Man.); and xwave
Solutions (Stittsville, Ont.).

Along with the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency,
Canada is one of the five major partners in the International Space Station,
the most ambitious science and engineering project ever undertaken. Once
complete the Station will cover an area as big as a Canadian football field
(108 x 74 metres) and will weigh 450 tons. Orbiting at an average altitude
of 400 kilometres above the earth, the Space Station flies over Canada
regularly and is visible to the naked eye. In fact, it is the third
brightest object in the night sky (to find out when the International Space
Station will be visible in your area, visit the CSA Website at:

CSA spokespersons are available for interviews at the CSA’s headquarters in
Saint-Hubert, Quebec.
For live coverage of the mission, media can log on to the NASA TV satellite
on GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization,
with a frequency of 3880 MHz and audio of 6.8 MHz or via the Internet at


For more information, contact:

Monique Billette

Senior Media Relations Officer

Canadian Space Agency

Tel.: (450) 926- 4370

Mission STS-111 Website: