Nov. 13: 31st anniversary of the first use of the Canadarm in space
Need a lift in outer space? The Canadarm is there to help. Developed by Canadian company SPAR Aerospace, five of these mechanical arms, whose official name is the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), were deployed with NASA's space shuttles.
Although unable to lift much in standard Earth gravity, once in outer space, the Canadarm could release satellites from the shuttle's cargo hold, provide a tether for spacewalks or, with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, inspect shuttles and the International Space Station for damage.
The first Canadarm was deployed aboard the Columbia in 1981. SPAR closed in 2009; the SRMS was retired along with Atlantis in 2011.