Unveiling exhibit, Hadfield sends first Canadarm 'last command' from space
Published Thursday, May 2, 2013 1:55PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 2, 2013 2:41PM EDT
Astronaut Chris Hadfield helped unveil the new Canadarm exhibit Thursday at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum -- and he did it all the way from space.
Hadfield, the current commander of the International Space Station was on hand, at least digitally, as Heritage Minister James Moore revealed the new Canadarm display at the Ottawa-based museum.
Hadfield sent Canadarm "it's last command from space," hitting a few keys on his laptop just before a sheet was lifted off the glass case containing the original robotic arm that was previously mounted to the shuttle Endeavour.
The 15-metre Canadarm spent 30 years supporting the U.S. Shuttle Program before it was retired in 2011, travelling 624 million kilometres and logging a total of 944 workdays in space aboard Endeavour.
The exhibit itself is interactive, allowing visitors to explore the history of the Canadarm and learn how its legacy continues today in neurological and pediatric surgery robotics.
"The Canadarm was the foundation for Canadian leadership in space robotics and technology and today we're still building on this legacy with Canadarm2, Dextre and Mobil Base System, all part of Canada's contribution to the International Space station," Moore said.
"The Canadarm reminds us of Canada's drive and ingenuity and it started the legacy of Canada's space sector -- pushing the frontier of what is possible."
Hadfield, in comments from space before he officially revealed the exhibit, said he owed a personal debt to the Canadarm and the engineers that built it.
"I'm very grateful to the Canadarm itself. In a sense, it's because of the Canadarm I can even be in space," Hadfield said.
"More than 30 years ago when Canada contributed this magnificent state of the art technology to NASA it opened the door for Canadian astronauts to exist and literally transformed my childhood dream from virtually impossible to possible."