An artist’s concept of Canadarm3, Canada’s smart robotic system, located on the exterior of the Gateway, a small space station in orbit around the Moon. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)
Rock West Composites (RWC) has completed the design of the development model for Canadarm3. RWC is collaborating with MDA, a leader in advanced technology solutions for the space industry. The team will design, analyze, manufacture, and test the two primary boom structures and supporting spare units for Canadarm3, Canada’s next-generation robotic arm for the lunar Gateway Program.
According to the Canadian Space Agency, “Canadarm3 will be Canada’s contribution to the US-led Gateway, a lunar outpost that will enable sustainable human exploration of the Moon. This highly autonomous robotic system will use cutting-edge software to perform tasks around the Moon without human intervention.” MDA is tasked with establishing the technical requirements for the program, and RWC is developing the boom structures with MDA.
As a critical component of the Canadarm3 system, the boom structure will be responsible for supporting the robotic arm’s operations and ensuring its stability and reliability over its 20+ year service life. The structure must meet challenging structural and weight requirements, as well as tight dimensional tolerances, operate within wide temperature ranges, and withstand radiation.