|Aboard the International Space Station's Canadarm2, space shuttle Discovery astronaut Steve Bowen works outside the station during the STS-133 mission's second spacewalk in this photo provided by NASA and taken March 2, 2011. (REUTERS/NASA)
Canada's enduring contribution to space exploration is the focus of Tuesday's Google doodle.
The Canadarm made its operational debut on Nov. 13, 1981, on the Space Shuttle Columbia (mission STS-2). It was retired 30 years later, after its 90th flight, on mission STS-135.
"The arm is out and it works beautifully," pilot Richard Truly reported to Mission Control after deploying the "Remote Manipulator System" for the first time. "Its movements are much more flexible than they appeared during training simulations."
Images beamed back to terra firma about an hour later showed Canadarm, as described by the Canadian Space Agency, "bent in an inverted V shape position that shines against the black-jet background of space and a milky blue Earth."
That image is re-created in the Google doodle tribute — the image above the search field at google.ca.
In 2001, the Canadarm2 was deployed to build the International Space Station, where it remains permanently to help with the station's maintenance and upkeep.