SPACE FLIGHT 2003 -- Other Countries Space Activities

In Latin America, Chile, Brazil and Argentina haltingly continued small efforts to develop their own space launch and operations capability for garnering a share of future satellite markets. In 2003, there were no launches from these countries, and Brazil's efforts were set back considerably by the disastrous explosion of its indigenous VLS-3 (Veiculo Lancador de Satellites 3) rocket on the launch pad on August 22, killing 21 people.

In Canada, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) continued work on its contribution to the ISS partnership, the Mobile Service System (MSS), consisting of the 3960 lbs (1800 kg) Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Canadarm2, the Mobile Base System (MBS), and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM). Canada also has an active Canadian Astronaut Program. After the SSRMS was carried into space by space shuttle STS-100/Endeavour on Mission 6A in 2001 and mounted to the ISS' Lab module by spacewalkers Scott Parazynski and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, during 2002 a second MSS part, the Mobile Transporter (MT), was launched on STS-110/Atlantis (ISS-8A) in April and installed by EVA (extravehicular activity) on its truss segment tracks. On April 15, the MT railcart traversed a distance of 72 ft (22 m), making this the first operation of a "railroad in space". A third MSS part, the MBS, along with a replacement wrist-roll joint for the robotarm, followed on STS-111/Endeavour (ISS-UF 2) in June, and the MBS, which eventually can carry the robotarm along the 356 ft (108 m) length of the external truss, was successfully installed on the MT by another EVA.