Canadarm: A handy arm in space that will build a house on the moon

A heavy lifter robotic arm in space, Canadarm is all set to build the lunar gateway or a space habitat on the moon, just like it built the ISS | Photo - NASA

When doing heavy physical work, an extra pair of hands is always welcome. And as the elders would say, the brawnier, the better.

Four decades ago, when the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was planning space missions, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), which had been associated with it in robotics since the 1960s, came up with a heavy-lifter crane, more of a robotic arm called the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), for carrying out heavy tasks in space.

The SRMS took to the skies in November 1981 on Columbia's second mission, the STS-2. It soon became a permanent fixture on the space shuttle and also on the International Space Station (ISS). Renamed as Canadarm, it has flown on 90 shuttle missions in the last thirty years.

Now, Canadarm 3, the latest version of the robotic hand, modified to suit the working conditions of deep space, will soon fly to the moon and start building the lunar gateway or a space habitat on the moon, just like it built the ISS.

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on and and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 99
Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on