POLITICS

Cdn robot on space station performs with precision

03/12/2012 06:25 EDT | Updated 05/12/2012 05:12 EDT
LONGUEUIL, Que. - The Canadian Space Agency is singing the praises of Dextre, a two-armed $200-million robot, for its latest feat.

The space agency says that, between March 7 and 9, the 3.7-metre-high robot accomplished what it calls the most intricate work ever performed by a robot in space.

Dextre was used for a mission designed to demonstrate the ability to use robots to refuel and service existing satellites in space.

CSA president Steve MacLean says in a statement the mission required surgical precision.

He compared it to the robotic equivalent of threading a needle while standing on the end of a diving board.

One of Dextre's tasks was to slide a tiny hook under a wire with only about a millimetre of clearance. It was described as the most precise task ever attempted by Canada's state-of-the-art robot.

The mission, a collaborative effort between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, involved a mock satellite roughly the size of a washing machine.

It was fitted with various caps, nozzles and valves like those found on satellites and Dextre used four specialized tools to interact with the mockup.

Dextre will resume its robotic refuelling operations in May.

It was delivered and installed on the International Space Station in 2008.