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Engineering Services Inc. (ESI) announced today that it has signed a $3-million contract with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop robotic arm technologies for lunar missions, with an option for a second arm in a contract worth $500,000. Along with a micro-rover and a smaller robotic arm, this is the third robot that ESI is developing for the CSA and establishes ESI as a significant player in Canada’s space industry.

As prime contractor, ESI will lead a team of experts from industry and academia in the design, building and testing of the Planetary Medium Manipulator (PMM) prototype. A leading feature of the PMM is its versatility, allowing tasks as varied as scientific investigations, construction of a simulated lunar base and maintenance of other robots to be performed autonomously. The key technologies developed in this project will also impact Earth-based robotics: enabling more complex tasks to be completed autonomously and allowing robots to safely work alongside humans.

According to ESI’s founder and president, Professor Andrew Goldenberg, this robotic arm “expands the scope of what is possible with robots in space and on the Earth.” Designing space robots marks a return for Professor Goldenberg, who was a designer of the original Canadarm before becoming a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and later founding ESI.

Professor Goldenberg was also recently announced as a winner of a 2010 Ontario Professional Engineers Award, which will be presented on November 20th.

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Fahad Pinto
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