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DextreThe Canadian-built Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM), is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 27 crew member on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA Dextre is a space handyman with a mission: keep the International Space Station (ISS) ship-shape. Dextre’s role is to perform maintenance work and repairs like changing batteries and replacing cameras outside the ISS. Having Dextre on call will reduce the amount of risky spacewalks to do routine chores, thus giving astronauts more time for science, the main goal of the ISS. Dextre’s special skills and awesome location also offer a unique and opportune testing ground for new robotics concepts like servicing satellites in space. Dextre can ride on the end of Canadarm2 to move from worksite to worksite, or simply hitch a ride on the Mobile Base System.

Dextre was originally designed to be operated by astronauts from inside the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian Space Agency revised Dextre's software and worked with NASA to come up with a series of tests (called On-Orbit Checkout Requirements) that would ensure that Dextre could be safely operated from the ground. Today, Dextre is programmed by Canadian robotics planners at the Canadian Space Agency's headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, who prepare all the robotic handyman's activities and the software he needs to get the job done. Dextre is operated by robotics controllers both at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and from the Canadian Space Agency's headquarters in Saint-Hubert.

Dextre Specifications
Height 12 feet
Width 7.7 feet (across shoulders)
Arm Length 11.48 feet linear stroke
Mass (approx.) 3,664 pounds
Mass Handling/Transportation Capacity 1,322.77 pounds
Degrees of Freedom 15
Peak Power (operational) 2,000 W
Avg. Power (keep alive) 600 W
Applied Tip Load Range 0-111 N
Stopping Distance (under max. load) 5.9 inches
Page Last Updated: October 18th, 2013
Page Editor: Jerry Wright