Mission STS-97, with Canadian Space Agency
(CSA) Astronaut Marc Garneau aboard, was given the green light today during
a NASA Pre-launch Press Conference held at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to lift-off at 10:06 p.m. EST on
Thursday, November 30, 2000, from KSC, in Florida.

Michel Vachon, Director General of CSA’s Canadian Astronaut Office, reviewed
the preparations for Mission STS-97 and discussed the tasks that Marc
Garneau has been assigned for his third space mission. “The prime objective
of Mission STS-97 will be the installation of the first of four sets of
solar panels on the Space Station. Marc Garneau will serve as Flight
Engineer during the mission. This is the first time a Canadian astronaut has
held such a critical role during a spaceflight,” indicated Mr. Vachon.

>From inside Shuttle Endeavour the Canadian astronaut will also coordinate
two of his American crewmates as they complete the installation procedure
during two separate extra-vehicular activities (or space walks).

Dr. Sylvie Béland, Manager of Launch and Flight Systems at the CSA,
highlighted the importance of Marc Garneau’s mission in the assembly of the
International Space Station during a briefing session on the mission at the
CSA headquarters. “Having an uninterrupted and reliable energy source is
critical on the Space Station because power outages could be
life-threatening. Electricity is literally the lifeblood of the Station,
needed not only for daily activities and running scientific experiments, but
also for the very survival of the crew,” said Dr. Béland.

The largest engineering project ever undertaken, the International Space
Station is being built jointly by Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan,
Brazil and 11 European countries. Once completed, the Station will cover an
area as large as a football field (108 x 74 metres) and weigh 450 tons.
Orbiting at an average altitude of 400 kilometres, it flies regularly over
Canada and is visible to the naked eye.

The Canadian contribution to the International Space Station, the Mobile
Servicing Systems (MSS), is made up of three elements: a next-generation
Canadarm called the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS); a
smaller, detachable two-armed robot, the Special Purpose Dexterous
Manipulator (SPDM), that can be placed on the end of the SSRMS to perform
delicate operations; and the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System, a movable
platform for the robotic arm and the SPDM, which will slide along rails
located on the Space Station’s main structure to transport the arm to
various points on the Station.

In April 2001, CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield will become the first Canadian
Astronaut to perfom a space walk when he installs the new Canadian robotic
arm on the International Space Station.

Canada is also contributing the Space Vision System, that provides
information on the exact location, orientation and motion of a specific
target, allowing Astonauts manipulating the SSRMS to handle its payloads
precisely and safely. The Mobile Servicing System Operations Complex, a
Ground Segment located at CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec completes
Canada’s contribution to the ISS and will be used to plan missions, monitor
the health of the robotic arm, and to train astronauts and cosmonauts.

Established in 1989 and situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space
Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program and manages
five core functions: Earth and Environment, Space Science, Human Presence in
Space, Satellite Communications, and Space Technologies. The Canadian Space
Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space
knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

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For more information:

Caroline Lavallée

Senior Communications Officer

Canadian Space Agency

Tel.: (450) 926-4370

E-mail: caroline.lavallee@space.gc.ca

Marc Garneau STS-97 Mission Website: www.space.gc.ca/sts97-garneau