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Moon exploration news - 2020

Canada partners in the next chapter in humanity's exploration of space

The Canadian Space Agency awards contract to MDA for Canadarm3

Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA

As part of its plans to join the return to the Moon, the Canadian Space Agency has awarded a contract worth $22.8 million to Brampton-based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to establish the technical requirements to build Canadarm3.

Canadarm3 is Canada's contribution to the United States-led Lunar Gateway, which is part of the Artemis program, the next major international collaboration in human space exploration.

Canadarm3 will be composed of a next-generation smart robotic arm, a small dexterous arm and a set of specialized tools. Using advanced machine vision, cutting-edge software and advances in artificial intelligence, this highly autonomous system will be able to perform tasks without human intervention.

In contrast to its predecessor on the International Space Station, ground control operations for Canadarm3 will take place exclusively in Canada.

Hundreds of Canadian companies are expected to be involved in the development of Canadarm3, working with MDA and research organizations to drive innovation and Canadian excellence in emerging technologies.

The development of Canadarm3 will involve the application of the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, which will ensure the participation of the broader Canadian supply chain and help motivate investments in key industrial capabilities within Canada's space sector.

Two Canadian technologies are going to the Moon

Two Canadian technologies are going to the Moon

A lovely crescent moon at sunrise as seen on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is helping prepare Canada's space industry for future missions to the Moon. The CSA is awarding $3.3 million in contributions to support the demonstration of two lunar technology payloads and their launch to the Moon.

This is the first time Canada will conduct a technology demonstration in lunar orbit and on the Moon's surface. It represents a significant step in Canada's participation in the next chapter of Moon exploration.

The $2.49 million and $840,153 contributions are respectively being awarded to Ontario company Canadensys Aerospace Corporation and Quebec-based company NGC Aerospace Ltd. Canadensys Aerospace Corporation will develop, launch and test a lightweight and energy-efficient 360° camera that will capture stunning panoramic images of the lunar surface. NGC Aerospace Ltd. will demonstrate a planetary navigation system similar to the GPS technology used on Earth. The system will use features on the surface of the Moon to guide and land a lunar vehicle safely, in a precise location.

These innovative technologies will enable new commercial opportunities and position the Canadian space industry for the future economy created by Moon exploration. The CSA will continue to support Canadian organizations by providing a wide range of opportunities for Canadian science and technology activities in lunar orbit, on the Moon's surface, and beyond.

The two contributions are the first to be awarded as part of the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) Capability Demonstration Announcement of Opportunity.

The Canadian Space Agency signs Artemis Accords

Signing of the Artemis Accords

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

The CSA is working with national and international partners to write the next chapter of space exploration—sending humans to more distant destinations like the Moon and Mars.

Today, the CSA proudly joined other space agencies – NASA, the Australian Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Luxembourg Space Agency, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, and the UK Space Agency – in signing the Artemis Accords. This commitment is an important first step towards ensuring safe and sustainable exploration beyond Earth's orbit.

CSA President Lisa Campbell signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of Canada.

CSA statement:

Canada is happy to be part of this group of space-faring nations committed to conducting deep-space exploration missions in a safe and sustainable manner and in full compliance with the Outer Space Treaty.

Canada's space sector is gearing up for missions to the Moon and beyond. We are a proud partner of the Lunar Gateway, to which we are contributing Canadarm3 – a smart robotic system. We are also funding science and technology development in fields like artificial intelligence, robotics and health, through our Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program.

Canada recognizes the exciting opportunities presented by emerging exploration, science and commercial space activities. The set of principles outlined in the Artemis Accords represents an important first step towards ensuring that these missions are conducted in a safe, sustainable and transparent manner.

We will be consulting Canadians on these emerging space activities. Our goal is to determine how best to implement the principles of the Artemis Accords in a way that positions Canadian industry to leverage new opportunities, while ensuring we continue to meet our obligations under the Outer Space Treaty.

At the same time, we will continue working with the international community through the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The Artemis Accords are an important achievement for safe and sustainable space exploration, but more work is needed to further solidify the framework for deep-space exploration activities, both nationally and internationally.

Canada is excited to be working with the international community as we safely and sustainably expand our exploration beyond Earth's orbit.

Thank you.

The Canadian Space Agency invests in Canadian lunar science and technology

The Aristarchus crater on the Moon's surface. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

As part of its efforts to prepare Canada's space community for Moon exploration, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is awarding seven contracts worth a total of $4.36 million to advance concepts for miniaturized rovers and autonomous science instruments.

Developing these key technologies will help enable Canadian science on the surface of the Moon. Funding for the projects stems from the CSA's Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP).

In , Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada was joining efforts to return to the Moon. In addition to fostering opportunities for Canada's space sector through LEAP, the CSA is contributing a smart robotic system, Canadarm3, to the Gateway, a small space station that will orbit the Moon as part of NASA's Artemis program.

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