2006 Canada 14-karat Gold $300 Coin - Canadarm
Face Value: $300
Composition: 58.33% Gold and 41.67% Silver
Weight (g): 45
Diameter (mm): 40
Design: A month before Apollo landed on the moon, Canadian scientists and engineers reviewed proposals for a project that would produce Canada's national icon for high-tech know-how - the Canadarm.
NASA invited international scientists to participate in its work on its Space Shuttle. In Spring 1974, the Canadian government decided it would contribute to the project by developing the Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS). Dubbed Canadarm, it would be used by the shuttle to seize, maneuver and deploy its payloads in space.
Nothing like this had ever been done before. Engineers had to start from scratch. They designed a 15.2 m (50-ft.) long robotic arm with nerves of copper wiring, bones of graphite fiber and muscles of electric motors, all controlled by a sophisticated computer. The arm had wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. Instead of a hand, it had a wire-snare device that would fit over the special prong on the payload. The entire "arm" was thermally insulated to ensure it would operate flawlessly in the extreme environment of space.
Canadarm made its debut on November 13, 1981, but the project didn't end there. The first robotic arm ever built for space was so successful that a next-generation arm was developed to build and maintain the International Space Station. On April 22, 2001, Col. Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk as he assembled and installed Canadarm2 on the Station 400 km (250 mi) above earth. Dextre, a two-armed robot, will join Canadarm2 on the station in 2007.
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