any good scout, Alain Dubeau knows the key to going on the trail
is being prepared. "If you can live on the trail and learn to
survive using the environment around you, then there are no limits,"
he said. As manager of the Canadian Space Station Program, he
thinks the space station is on a similar journey. "If we keep
doing space exploration, I believe we need to do it as a planet."
"If you look at history 60 years ago, the same
partners that are building the space station today," said Dubeau,
"were at war." He thinks it's a miracle. "Just the human aspect
of different countries working together is fantastic." Most of
his career has been involved with aerospace (29 years in the Air
Force). "To work with airplanes, then work with space, with astronauts,
cosmonauts, to meet them, to know their story--I've never seen
such an environment."
Lends a Hand (and an Arm)
"Without this, we cannot assemble the space station,"
said Dubeau of the Canada Space Agency's elaborate robotics system.
The Mobile Servicing System is pivotal to the station's continued
construction and operation in orbit. The mobile servicer is made
up of three parts: the Space
Station Remote Manipulator System, a 55-foot-long "arm"; the
Mobile Remote Servicer Base System, a work platform and storage
area; and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, better known
as the "hand." Expanding upon its space shuttle success, this
new arm can "walk" and pick up and use the hand, which has two
arms of its own. The arm will be aboard Mission
STS-100, scheduled for launch in April 2001, along with Canadian
Hadfield who will perform a space walk to install it.
Once in place, Canada will provide logistic and engineering support.
Dubeau is very proud of Canada's contribution: "It's not only
me; it's all the people working on this program. It's a huge team,
and every day we're making history."
Well With Others
to build space station will take 45 launches of over 100 pieces
to be integrated in space. "That means all the interfaces must
be well-defined and well-tested. You cannot afford to send one
of those modules in space, and it cannot talk to another module."
The Multi-element Integration test is designed to let all the
pieces "play" together on the ground (usually at Kennedy Space
Center) to make sure they can work together in space. "We do this
type of testing to mitigate all the risk."