MDA devised the robotic arm extension concept following the 2003 Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendation for on-orbit inspection repair capabilities. The boom extension builds on the technology and experience acquired by MDA in building several generations of space-borne manipulators - the original Shuttle Canadarm, Canadarm2 for the International Space Station, and "Dextre" a two-armed robot destined for the International Space Station.
MDA will deliver two Inspection Booms to NASA by the end of 2004. The Canadarm, Canadarm2 and the new Inspection Booms are expected to play a critical role on all future Shuttle flights, enabling NASA to accomplish on orbit thermal protection system inspections while completing assembly of the International Space Station. The work is being performed under existing contract arrangements with NASA.