Dextre on the end of Canadarm2
Dextre, as photographed by an Expedition 26 crew member
Dextre, as photographed by an Expedition 27 crew member

Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), is a two armed robot, or telemanipulator, which is part of the Mobile Servicing System on the International Space Station (ISS), and extends the function of this system to replace some activities otherwise requiring spacewalks. It was launched March 11, 2008 on mission STS-123.

Dextre is part of Canada's contribution to the ISS and is named to represent its dexterous nature. It is sometimes also referred to as the Canada Hand, by analogy with the Canadarm and Canadarm2.[not verified in body] Dextre was designed and manufactured by MacDonald Dettwiler.[not verified in body]

In the early morning of February 4, 2011, Dextre completed its first official assignment which consisted in unpacking two pieces for Kounotori 2 while the on-board crew was sleeping.[1]



Dextre resembles a headless torso fitted with two extremely agile, 3.35 metres (11 ft) arms. The 3.5 meter long body pivots at the "waist". The body has a grapple fixture at one end that can be grasped by the larger Space Station Arm, Canadarm2 so that the SPDM can be positioned at the various Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU) worksites around the Space Station. The other end of the body has an end effector virtually identical to that of Canadarm2, so that the SPDM can be stored on Space Station grapple fixtures Unit/Tool Changeout Mechanism (OTCM). It has built-in grasping jaws, a retractable socket drive, a monochrome TV camera, lights, and an umbilical connector that can provide power, data, and video to/from a payload.

The lower body of Dextre has a pair of orientable colour TV cameras with lights, a platform for stowing ORUs, and a tool holster. The tool holster is equipped with three different tools used to perform various tasks.

Design and delivery

Dextre was designed and manufactured by MDA Space Missions as contracted by the Canadian Space Agency, which will oversee its future operations and the necessary training of station crews.

It completed all necessary testing and was delivered to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, in mid-June 2007. Once at KSC, it underwent flight verification testing followed by shuttle integration.


Dextre was launched to the ISS on March 11, 2008 aboard Endeavour on mission STS-123. It "woke up" and activated heaters needed for keeping its joints and electronics warm after receiving power from the space station's Canadarm2 on March 14. During the mission's second spacewalk on March 16, spacewalking astronauts attached the two 3.35 metres (11 ft) arms to the robot's main body and further prepared the machine for its handyman job on the station. After the spacewalk, crew members hooked Dextre back up to the station robotic arm to keep it warm and to allow NASA to perform tests to ensure all of Dextre's electronics were working properly. Later that day, the crew tested all of its joints and brakes.[2] Astronauts finished outfitting the robot during a third spacewalk on March 17, 2008.[3]

Additional usage

In early August 2004 NASA declared its intention to use Dextre (or a close copy of it) as the robotic component for the Hubble Space Telescope rescue mission. Months after awarding a contract to MDA Space Missions to provide an SPDM copy for the Hubble repair mission,[4] NASA then canceled the mission in favour of flying a Shuttle mission to perform the repairs/upgrades. NASA cited excessive risks and new-found confidence in the Space Shuttle external tank as reasons for the cancellation.

Dextre was the subject of an April Fool's Day joke article on April 1, 2008 on NASA's APOD website.[5]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • dextre — [ dɛkstr ] n. f. et adj. • 1080; adj. XIVe; lat. dextera, fém. de dexter « qui est à droite » 1 ♦ Vx Le côté droit. ♢ Vx ou plaisant Main droite. « Pradonet et lui se serrent cordialement la dextre » (Queneau). 2 ♦ Adj. Zool. Coquille dextre,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dextre — kurz nach der Installation an der ISS (NASA) Der Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM, dt. geschickte Arbeitsvorrichtung für Sonderzwecke) ist als Teil des Mobile Servicing Systems ein robotisches Armsystem der Internationalen Raumstation… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • dextre — DEXTRE. s. f. Main droite. Assis à la dextre de Dieu, à la dextre du Toutpuissant, à la dextre du Père. Il ne se dit qu en ces sortes de phrases, où même il est vieux. [b]f♛/b] En termes de Blason, on dit Le côté dextre, pour dire, Le côté droit; …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • dextre — DEXTRE. s. f. Main droite. Assis à la dextre de Dieu, à la dextre du Tout puissant. à la dextre du Pere. Dextre, Se prend aussi pour la puissance de Dieu …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • dextre — (dék str ) adj. 1°   Terme de blason. Le côté dextre, le côté droit. à dextre, à droite.    Terme de zoologie. Coquille spirivalve dextre, coquille dont le bord terminal se trouve placé à la droite de l animal. Coquille univalve dextre, celle… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Dextre — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Dextre », sur le Wiktionnaire (dictionnaire universel) Le mot dextre est employé dans plusieurs… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • dextre — A Dextre, A dextra, Ad dextram manum. Du, ou A costé dextre, A dextra, Dextrorsus. Vers la dextre, Dextrouersum. Il est à dextre de moy, Mihi dexter. A dextre et à senestre, Dextra sinistra, Dextra laeuaque. Homme dextre, ou bien adroit à faire… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • DEXTRE — s. f. La main droite, ou Le côté droit, le côté de la main droite. Assis à la dextre de Dieu, à la dextre du Tout Puissant, à la dextre du Père. Il ne s emploie que dans ces sortes de phrases, où même il est vieux.  En termes de Blason, Le côté… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • DEXTRE — adj. des deux genres Qui est du côté droit. La main dextre. En termes de Blason, Le côté dextre. Il est vieux. Il s’employait aussi comme nom féminin pour désigner la Main droite ou le Côté de la main droite. Assis à la dextre de Dieu, à la… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • Dextre — Para otros usos de este término, véase Dexter. Mano de Canadá en la EEI (NASA). El Dextre (también conocido como el Manipulador diestro de propósito especial o Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM)) es un robot de dos brazos, o… …   Wikipedia Español

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