Canadian Space Agency Extends MDA Space ISS Robotic Operations Support Contract

The Canadarm2 robotic arm and Dextre, the fine-tuned robotic hand, are remotely controlled on Earth to extract Bartolomeo from the pressurized trunk of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship. Bartolomeo is a European Space Agency science payload system that will enable numerous external science experiments to be conducted and controlled outside the space station. Credit: NASA. (Marc 25, 2020)

The Canadian Space Agency has extended the International Space Station robotics operations support contract for MDA Space for another five years. The contract extension is for the period between 2025 – 2030, and the value of the contract is $250 million.

There is something new in this contract extension. MDA Space said it “will now fulfil robotics flight controller duties to support mission operations on the ISS.” MDA Space had previously trained CSA and NASA personnel for this role. Now MDA Space will have a team of robotics flight controllers stationed at CSA headquarters once the contract extension kicks in in 2025.

The news follows the roll-out last week at the Space Symposium of the MDA SKYMAKER, a suite of space robotics products and services based on its long history of developing space robotics. MDA Space built the Canadarm2, Dextre and the Mobile Base System (MBS) which comprise the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) on the International Space Station. They have also provided “training to the robotic operators and supports mission planning, engineering support and real-time operations.” MDA Space is also developing the Canadarm3 for the Lunar Gateway.

In a press release Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA Space stated, “Robotics flight controllers are the pilots in the control room who make real-time decisions and plan exactly how robotics on the ISS are utilized and executed to support immediate and long-term mission plans, and we’re honoured to be taking on this important role. This further solidifies MDA Space as a trusted mission partner and global leader in mission-critical space robotics operations and strategically positions our team to offer mission operations as a commercial service to customers globally.”

MDA Space stated that the contract will be added to the company’s backlog in the second quarter of fiscal 2024.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and Executive Vice President, Content of SpaceNews. Boucher has 25+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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