Out there in low Earth orbit, 400 kilometres up, Hadfield began the first ever spacewalk by a Canadian. The first set of Canadarms had almost the same manoeuvrability as this new model: a shoulder moving on two axes; an elbow on one; a wrist that can pitch, yaw, and roll; and a grappler. Unlike the originals—which were affixed to the space shuttles *Columbia*, *Atlantis*, *Endeavour*, and *Discovery*—the Canadarm2 was designed to remain permanently attached to the ISS, to assist in the broader mission of space exploration and habitation. Seventeen metres long when fully extended, the Canadarm2 was only slightly larger than its predecessors, but it would be nearly twice as fast, three times stronger, much more dextrous, and exceedingly more useful. Whereas the first arm looked and functioned quite literally like an arm mounted at the shoulder, the Canadarm2 was like two arms connected to one elbow. This configuration would eventually allow it to move along rails running the length of the ISS, making it a 1,500-kilogram multi tool for the space station—a crane, grabber, and camera, all in one.
Canada’s Big Flex in Space