Longueuil, Quebec, January 5, 2005 – Dr. Marc Garneau, President of the
Canadian Space Agency (CSA), is pleased to announce that NASA has given MDA
of Brampton, Ontario, the go-ahead for a mission design concept for a
possible Hubble Telescope Rescue Mission. Based on Dextre, Canada’s space
robotics technology, MDA will design a concept that could support the repair
and upgrade of the Hubble space telescope, if NASA conducts such a mission.

Dextre is the dual-armed robot built by MDA under contract to the Canadian
Space Agency to conduct exterior maintenance of the International Space
Station. The robot is specially designed to perform complex tasks in the
harsh environment of space, such as installing and removing batteries, power
supplies, computer units, and scientific payloads. It will be adapted to
replace batteries, gyroscopes, and perhaps an instrument on the $1.5-billion
scientific Hubble Space Telescope to extend its life.

The awarding of this contract is a key step to reaching an important
milestone next summer when NASA will make a decision as to whether to
proceed with the mission. Launched in 1990, Hubble depends on six gyroscopes
for accurate pointing and stability. Two of these instruments are now out of
service. Hubble’s rechargeable batteries are also deteriorating. A
successful robotic servicing mission could prolong Hubble’s life expectancy
well beyond 2010. Without such a mission, the space observatory could fail
as soon as 2007.

“Through the Government of Canada’s long-standing commitment and vision, we
have earned a reputation for leadership and innovation in space robotics, an
expertise that is second to none,” Garneau said. “NASA’s recognition of the
expertise of MDA is a source of pride for all Canadians.”
The Government of Canada’s vision and investment in the design and
commercialization of leading-edge space robotics such as Canadarm, opened
the door for Canada as a partner in building the International Space
Station. This vision has led to technological advances such as the design
and operation of the integrated mobile servicing system, which includes a
mobile base, Canadarm2, and soon, Dextre, all critical to the construction
and maintenance of the station.

This Canadian space robotic technology is being adapted to one day help
doctors perform surgical operations that will be less invasive than
traditional approaches, and which will speed the recovery of patients. This
is another example of how the transfer of world-renowned space technology is
improving the quality of life of all Canadians.

For more information, please contact

Carole Duval
Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations
Tel.: (450) 926-4370