When you think of the Canadarm you should at least remember one name associated with the historic Canadian program, Garry M. Lindberg. Mr. Lindberg was the project manager of the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), or Canadarm. On Friday, June 30, David Johnston, Governor General of Canada announced that Mr. Lindberg would be appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for his work on Canada’s space program, notably on the Canadarm and the astronaut program.
Lindberg graduated from the University of Alberta in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics and then earned a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics at Cambridge University before joining the National Aeronautical Establishment at the National Research Council (NRC) in 1964.
Lindberg would work in a variety of research programs at the National Aeronautical Establishment and would eventually become the Executive Director for the space division.
Lindberg became the project manager of the Canadarm program and also played an important role in the creation of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and also oversaw the creation of the Canadian Astronaut Program. He retired in 1997 having served as vice-president of research and applications.
One notable story posted to the CSA website recounts the first mission of the Canadarm. On November 13, 1981 on the second flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, astronaut Richard Truly tested the Canadarm for the first time. Lindberg was a guest commentator on the CBC National News.
From the CSA website: “Its remarkable performance produced a rush of relief and joy. We had done everything possible to make it work, but we had never been able to test it in a space environment. Seeing the arm deployed without a hitch showed that the eight years of hard work has paid off with a spectacular success.” Euphoria and elation erupted from the Canada and NASA teams, recalls Dr. Karl Doetsch, then Deputy Program Manager of the Canadarm project. “The first image, the now famous inverted V with the Canadian wordmark, displayed for the world to see: Canadian technology at its best. It was happiness, relief, and excitement all at once.”