Original Shuttle Canadarm to be Displayed at Museum in Ottawa

©NASA

The first Canadarm - RMS201 - on its last mission - STS134 in May 2011.

Reversing a decision made in 2011 to display the first Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (RMS or 'Canadarm') at its headquarters in St Hubert, the Canadian Space Agency(CSA) has announced that the arm will go on display in Ottawa.

"I am proud to repatriate this historic piece of Canadian technology and ensure it is on display for all Canadians to see," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency. "Canadians are immensely proud of the Canadarm which was absolutely critical to the Space Shuttle Program and positioned Canada as a key partner in the International Space Station."

"Canada is a leader in numerous space-related technologies and the Canadarm is just one example of what our world-class Canadian companies are capable of," added Minister Paradis. "Our Government is committed to consolidating that reputation by maximizing access to international business opportunities and improving the commercialization of innovative Canadian technology."


The first Shuttle Canadarm at the MacDonald Dettwiler facility in Brampton Ontario awaits transport to Quebec. Credit: SPACEREF

The first announcement that one of the shuttle robotic arms would come to Canada was announced in May, 2011. (See Canadarm Headed to Ottawa) Then six months later, the CSA announced that the arm would be displayed at its headquarters in St. Hubert for 3-4 years after which it would be moved to a museum. A tender went out for the development of an interactive display featuring the arm. (See CSA Plans to Display Canadarm at its Headquarters)

The famed robotic arm touched down on the last flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in May 2011. It was then returned to Canada and was given a thorough and careful evaluation at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates' facilities in Brampton. It will be transferred to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, where it will be put on display. A date for the move of the arm from Brampton to Ottawa has not been set, nor has the look of the exhibit been released.

The first Shuttle RMS was known within NASA and the CSA as RMS 201. It flew on 23 flights and travelled 6.5 million km.
It flew on the following shuttle missions:
STS 2 1981 First RMS flight
STS 3 1982 First grapple of an object
STS 4 1982 First military mission
STS 7 1983 Flight of Sally Ride
STS 8 1983 First night launch
STS 41-B 1984 Bruce McCandless MMU
STS 27R 1988 Military mission
STS 32R 1990 LDEF Retrieval
STS 46 1992 EUREKA deploy
STS 56 1993 ATLAS-2/SPARTAN-201
STS 51 1993 ACTS/SPAS-ORFEUS
STS 60 1994 Wake Shield Facility
STS 64 1994 SPARTAN-201
STS 63 1995 MIR Rendezvous
STS 91 1998 Final MIR Docking
STS 95 1998 Flight of John Glenn
STS 113 2002 ISS assembly mission 11A
STS 118 2007 Flight of CSA astronaut David Williams and Teacher Barbara Morgan
STS 123 2008 Dextre
STS 126 2008 ULF-2
STS 127 2009 Flight of CSA astronaut Julie Payette
STS 130 2010 Tranqulity module / Cupola
STS 134 2011 Last flight of Endeavour

Canadarm made its space debut on the US Space Shuttle Columbia on November 13, 1981. Designed to deploy and retrieve space payloads, the robotic arm quickly became a critical element in the Space Shuttle Program. It worked nearly flawlessly for 90 Shuttle missions, spending a total of 944 days in space and travelling the equivalent of over 624 million kilometers.