MDA lands ISS camera upgrade contract

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MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. has signed a CA$11 million contract with the Canadian Space Agency under which it will be designing and developing an upgraded camera system for the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The MSS camera systems have been operational on the ISS for over 13 years and as they near their end of life an upgrade is eminent as ISS is going to continue its operations through to 2024.

According to MDA, the new camera systems will provide superior illumination and viewing for critical robotic operations like capture of visiting spacecraft, maintenance and inspection of the ISS. Camera features will include colour, high dynamic range, advanced focus and digital zoom to enhance ISS robotic operations.

“The cameras build on MDA’s experience in developing low risk, high reliability camera systems for mission-critical space applications,” said Craig Thornton, the general manager responsible for the robotics business. “The technology will be applicable to a wide variety of future space applications—from inspection systems aboard commercial satellites to planetary missions.”

The MSS performs a variety of on-orbit operations ranging from resupply, maintenance, and servicing tasks that are critical to the on-going operations of the ISS. The MSS comprises Canadarm2, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator and the Mobile Base System.