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MDA's robotic solutions enable unmanned on-orbit services

February 18, 2011

Richmond, B.C. - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA), a provider of essential information solutions, announced today that Canadarm2, the advanced robotic arm built by MDA, successfully relocated the HTV Japanese cargo vehicle from the Earth-facing port to the space-facing port on the International Space Station (ISS) to accommodate docking of the space shuttle Discovery next week.

This follows a successful series of complex operations on the ISS that represent some of the most advanced robotic servicing performed in space to date—from grabbing a large free-flying vehicle the size of a city bus—to the fine manipulation of small space components for the ISS.

When the 35,000 lb free floating HTV Japanese cargo vehicle made its approach and drifted within 10 metres of the ISS, Canadarm2 captured it and skillfully guided it in a safe and controlled manner to its berthing port on the ISS.

Once berthed, operators on the ground began a complex set of maneuvers using Canadarm2 to extract and hand off a pallet equivalent to the size of a grand piano loaded with supplies for the ISS.

To perform the more intricate tasks of removing smaller spare components from the pallet, Canadarm2 engaged the highly dexterous robot known as “Dextre”. Using its acute sense of touch and precision, the two-armed robot unplugged connectors and removed spare components from the pallet, holding and powering them for installation on hardware that will be delivered on the next shuttle mission.

After Discovery and its crew depart, Canadarm2 will return the HTV2 back to the Earth-facing port.

This is a testament to MDA’s robotic capabilities to perform on-orbit servicing that previously would have required space-walking astronauts.

Canadarm2 and Dextre were developed by MDA under contract to the Canadian Space Agency.

About MDA

MDA provides advanced information solutions that capture and process vast amounts of data, produce essential information, and improve the decision making and operational performance of business and government organizations worldwide.

Focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, MDA delivers a broad spectrum of information solutions, ranging from complex operational systems, to tailored information services, to electronic information products.

The Company's common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TSX:MDA.

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Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements and information, which reflect the current view of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (“MDA” or the “Company”) with respect to future events and financial performance. The forward-looking statements in this regard include statements regarding the success of a series of complex robotic solutions. Any such forward-looking statements are based on MDA’s current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends. The factors and assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements in this release include the continued success of the robotic solutions. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. MDA cautions readers that should certain risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary significantly from those expected. The risks that could cause actual results to differ from current expectations include changes in government priorities, funding levels, contracts and regulations; failure of third parties and subcontractors; and failure of systems to meet performance requirements.

For additional information with respect to certain of these risks or factors, plus additional risks or factors, reference should be made to the Company’s continuous disclosure materials filed from time to time with Canadian securities regulatory authorities, which are available online at or on the Company’s website at

The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the form or content of this release.

Wendy Keyzer

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