The Canadian Space Agency today awarded Engineering Services Inc. (ESI) of Toronto a $3 million contract to develop prototype robotic arms, control stations and exploration tools that will be integrated into prototype lunar or martian rovers. The contract also includes an option for second arm worth $500,000.
The investment from the Canadian Space Agency is a result of the 2009 Economic Action Plan the government created to help stimulate the economy. The Canadian Space Agency was the beneficiary of $110 million in stimulus money.
The robotic arm is expected to be delivered to the CSA in early 2012 where it will be integrated in a prototype rover for testing in a lunar or martian analog environment. The robotic arm will be fitted with a scoop, grippers and powered socket wrench and can be operated remotely or autonomously.
“For nearly three decades now, Canada has earned a reputation as a global leader in space robotics,” says Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency. “The prototypes that will be built by ESI under this contract will build upon that legacy to ensure that Canada will remain a sought-after partner for future exploration missions to the Moon and Mars,” he adds.
According to ESI’s founder and president, Dr. Andrew Goldenberg, this robotic arm “expands the scope of what is possible with robots in space and on the Earth.” Designing space robots marks a return for Dr. Goldenberg, a designer of the original Canadarm before becoming a professor at the University of Toronto and founding ESI.