This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The inaugural journey of the Canadarm, initially launched 31 years ago on Nov. 13, is being remembered by Google Canada through a doodle on Google.ca. The illustration on the search engine’s native home page demonstrates an astronaut suspended in space, who is adjusting Canada’s most famous robotic and technological achievement to spell out the L and E in Google.
Canadarm was a remarkable remote manipulator system that was put in space on Nov. 13, 1981, through a U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia. It was calibrated into a shape of a crane arm that would carefully move huge pieces of equipment from the space shuttle’s cargo bay into space. The Canadian Space Agency reportedly admitted that the shape and structure of the arm was the beginning of a close collaboration of Canada and NASA in human space flight. It was “a sterling example of successful international cooperation in space,” they said.
So far, a total of five Canadarms have been designed and delivered to NASA, one of which was mislaid in the Challenger accident in 1986. The first Canadarm was retired after 30 years of successful operations, i.e. 90 flights, along with the Space Shuttle program. The Canadian Press quoted that Google’s Chief Doodler, Ryan Germick, stated that the idea of the doodle was submitted by the company’s Canadian offices a few months back. He acknowledged that the team had to choose from “hundreds and hundreds” of doodle ideas and is on track to have completed about 300 by the end of 2012.