Saint-Hubert, Quebec – The Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
today awarded robotic operator’s wings to NASA astronauts Dan Bursch and
Carl Walz, the first astronauts to obtain the qualification to operate the
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), the new Canadian robotic
arm to be installed on the International Space Station (ISS).

“The Canadian Space Agency is very proud today to award the first Canadian
qualification to two NASA astronauts to operate the new Canadian robotic arm
to be installed on the International Space Station,” said Michel Vachon,
Director General of the Canadian Astronaut Office at the CSA. “The Canadian
Space Agency has a leading role in the training of astronauts and cosmonauts
since those who will be assigned to the Space Station and to operate the
SSRMS will be required to come to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert,
Quebec, to obtain the necessary qualification,” he explained.

NASA Astronauts Dan Bursch and Carl Walz spent the week of March 27 at the
CSA in Saint-Hubert to receive from Canadian experts in the operation of the
SSRMS the final portion of the required training syllabus. “Mr. Bursch and
Mr. Walz successfully completed all aspects of the training. As of today,
they are the only two persons in the world who are officially qualified to
operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System” said Ann Logan, Manager
of the training at the CSA.

American astronauts Carl Walz and Dan Bursch said, “We were impressed by the
flexibility and high degree of adaptivity of the Canadian training system.”
Bursch has extensive previous experience operating the Space Shuttle
Canadarm, having accompanied CSA astronaut Marc Garneau on the STS-77
mission in May 1996.

The Space Station Remote Manipulator System is the first of three components
of the Mobile Servicing System, Canada’s main contribution to the
International Space Station. The ISS is the biggest joint scientific project
ever undertaken to date. Sixteen countries are partners in this project.
While Astronaut Julie Payette was the first Canadian to visit the Space
Station in May 1999 and Marc Garneau will be the next one in December, Chris
Hadfield will have the major responsibility of delivering the SSRMS to the
Space station during the STS-100 mission scheduled for April 2001.

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Information: Yanik Deschênes

Public and Media Relations

Canadian Space Agency

Tel: (450) 926-4423

Cell Phone: (514) 945-4522

Suzanne Parent