A letter from Roland Kiehne, President of the CAW Local 112 (MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Brampton) was sent and published by the Postmedia Network across their network of papers including the Ottawa Citizen questioning the decision to display the iconic Canadarm at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) headquarters rather than a museum.
In the letter Kiehne said “An iconic piece of Canadian space hardware, the Canadarm from the orbiter Endeavour, has left the Kennedy Space Center and is back home. Proud workers at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates in Brampton, Ont., are in the process of sanitizing and refurbishing the Arm. Once that is complete, the Canadarm will go on display at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in St. Hubert.”
“Why there? Why not in one of Canada’s two main aerospace museums, in Toronto and Ottawa? How many citizens will actually visit this incredible piece of Canadian history at CSA headquarters?”
In a recent article Gilles Leclerc, Director General, Space Exploration of the CSA told SpaceRef that the CSA wants the maximum exposure of the Canadarm and that it is the CSA’s hope that the arm winds up in a museum, perhaps in a couple of years. The reason for it being displayed at the CSA headquarters for now is to assess it’s viability for display in a museum. The Canadarm weighs 431kg and is approximately 15 meters in length. The Canadarm was designed for use in space and is incapable of supporting its own weight here on Earth and it must be supported by specialized ground handling equipment.
Other individuals have also questioned the CSA decision citing the reason given as not adequate. They counter that it is “routine” to exhibit heavy and complicated items.