Contracts awarded for the development of space technologies for the future of human spaceflight

Space agencies from around the world are looking towards the future of deep-space exploration beyond the International Space Station (ISS). Canada has committed to participating in international space exploration efforts that aim to propel humanity further into the solar system. The establishment of a Lunar Orbital Platform - Gateway between the Earth and the Moon is a key element of deep-space exploration by Canada and its partners in the international space community.

The Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) Space Technology Development Program (STDP) supports innovation to grow the Canadian space industry and to reduce technological unknowns of future space missions. Canada is currently studying technologies that will be necessary to send humans further and further into space. Following a Request for Proposals issued in , the CSA awarded four contracts totalling $3.2M for the development of enabling space technologies for future international human spaceflight collaborations.

Here is the list of contracts awarded, including organizations, contract values and project descriptions:

Organization Contract value Proposal Objective
MDA Corporation
Brampton, Ontario
$800,000 Deep Space Exploration Robotics (DSXR) Autonomy Software Framework (ASF)

In recent years, technology initiatives have helped develop concepts and prototypes to increase spacecraft autonomy and reduce operator workload.

MDA will advance these tools by testing an ASF supporting both execution and planning functions, enabling autonomous control of future space hardware such as robotic arms, rovers, scientific instruments, and satellites. The advanced software will be particularly useful in regards to robotics and sensors required to establish Lunar Orbital Platform - Gateway between the Earth and the Moon as well as rover missions on the lunar surface.

MDA Corporation
Brampton, Ontario
$799,046 Manipulator Interface Plate System II (MIPS-II)

The primary target of this technology development is specifically to support the operation of the Lunar Orbital Platform - Gateway robotic system.

MIPS is a robotic system suitable for use as a base or as a grasp fixture to relocate the robot as required in deep space. MDA will develop new components that will provide full-functioning capabilities for autonomous and semi-autonomous operations, as well as new software to support controls and vision guided operations. There is a potential to use this kind of robotic interface for a variety of space exploration and planetary missions as well as on-orbit robotic missions.

Canadensys Aerospace Corporation
Bolton, Ontario
$1,337,731 Surface Mobility Technology – Mobility & Environmental Rover Integrated Technology (MERIT)

This project aims to advance technologies and build a Canadian lunar rover prototype.

The MERIT prototype will function as a technology demonstration improving key constituent elements of a lunar rover system, such as: lightweight structures, integrated rover locomotion, power and energy storage. These enhanced features will contribute to ensure the mobility of high-performance vehicles in harsh environments and increase Canada's capabilities in view of future lunar rover missions.

Canadensys Aerospace Corporation
Bolton, Ontario
$350,000 Lunar Rover Prototyping – Scalable Wheels & Advanced Rover Motion (SWARM)

Lunar surface mobility has been identified as a core area where Canada can build on previous excellency in robotics and contribute to international post-ISS space exploration.

SWARM will contribute to lunar rover prototyping by building and testing a wheel design that is scalable between various sizes of rover, and which specifically addresses requirements of the Precursor to Human and Scientific Rover (PHASR) and the Lunar Pressurized Rover (LPR). Among other necessities, the prototype will be designed to endure harsh lunar terrain, a vacuum environment, and extreme lunar temperatures. 

Contact

Should you have any questions regarding the STDP funding initiative, contact us at asc.pdts-stdp.csa@canada.ca.

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