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Moon exploration news

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

NASA identifies launch attempt dates for Artemis I mission to the Moon

Artemis – The Space Launch System and Orion ready to launch

The Space Launch System rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Artemis I, an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, may blast off as early as , with and as back-up dates.

During this flight, the Orion spacecraft will launch from Florida on the SLS and venture thousands of kilometres beyond the Moon. Orion's systems will then be monitored to ensure a safe Crew Module re-entry, splashdown, and recovery. Orion will stay in space longer than any spacecraft built for astronauts ever has without docking to a space station.

A successful Artemis I mission will bring us a step closer to seeing a Canadian Space Agency astronaut flying around the Moon as part of Artemis II, the first crewed mission to the Moon since . This mission, currently planned to launch in , would make Canada the second country to have an astronaut fly around the Moon.

Artemis missions are an important part of NASA's Artemis program, designed to send humans farther into space than ever before. Like the Apollo program over 50 years ago, Artemis will begin with missions around the Moon before a mission that lands on the lunar surface.

The Canadian Space Agency funds novel ideas for potential Moon infrastructure

An artist's impression of a future lunar settlement

An artist's impression of a future lunar settlement.

As humanity tackles the challenges of creating a permanent human presence on the Moon, multiple Canadian companies will undertake seven concept studies. These reports will help develop capabilities and define potential Canadian infrastructure contributions on the Moon's surface.

These proposed solutions, selected following a Request for Proposals, aim to develop technologies and expertise that would support commercial interests and enable lunar science. Once the concept studies are completed, five solutions may be selected to move to the next step – prototyping.

CSA astronaut presentation among highlights of AstroFest activities in Montreal

CSA employee gives an explanation to visitors

A CSA employee gives an explanation to visitors. (Credit: CSA)

About 4000 people came to AstroFest, a fun-filled day focused on astronomy and Moon exploration at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium in Montreal on May 7.

The festivities were free and included specialised telescopes for close-up views at the sun and moon, a presentation by astronaut David Saint-Jacques, workshops and arts and crafts, and information booths by the CSA and .......

CSA employee gives an explanation to visitors

AstroFest  took place at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium in Montreal. (Credit: CSA)

Jean Dupuis, Space Astronomy Senior Mission Scientist at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), participated in a panel discussion on the James Webb Space Telescope. He highlighted Canada's role in the groundbreaking mission and described how Canada's scientific instrument aboard Webb, the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectograph (NIRISS), will be critical in learning more about the evolution of galaxies.

Jean Dupuis about Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope

The CSA's Space Astronomy Senior Mission Scientist, Jean Dupuis, discusses how Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope offers observation opportunities for Canadian universities and young researchers across Canada. (Credit: CSA)

Later in the evening, CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques presented Canada's role in lunar exploration to hundreds of lucky spectators. In case you missed it, watch the presentation.

David Saint-Jacques wows the audience with a presentation on Canada's role in lunar exploration

CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques wows the audience with a presentation on Canada's role in lunar exploration. (Credit: CSA)

AstroFest was a real treat for all the senses this past Saturday. Musical entertainment provided by Grüv'n Brass got the audience moving! The CSA also debuted tracks from its new Moon-themed Spotify playlist.

The evening was capped with nighttime star-gazing using a variety of telescopes on the grounds. Viewers were able to admire the Moon and much more!

Moon's craters through the telescopes on site

Event attendees were able to observe the Moon's craters through the telescopes on site. (Credit: CSA)

The Canadian Space Agency begins design of Canadarm3

The Canadian Space Agency begins design of Canadarm3

Credits: CSA, NASA

Leveraging a 40-year legacy of leadership in space robotics, the Government of Canada continues work on Canadarm3, the Canadian-made robotics system destined for the Lunar Gateway.

Brampton-based company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) will receive $268.9 million to begin the preliminary design of Canadarm3. The investment also includes funding to procure some of Canadarm3's components.

MDA will work with companies across the country to drive innovation and research and development in emerging technologies while developing the robotic system. A broad range of Canadian companies will be part of the Canadarm3 supply chain, spurring investments in key industrial capabilities within Canada's space sector.

Integrating sophisticated machine vision, cutting-edge software and advances in artificial intelligence, Canadarm3 will be critical to NASA's Artemis program. The highly autonomous robotics system will maintain, repair and inspect the Lunar Gateway, as well as capture visiting vehicles, help astronauts during spacewalks, and support science both in lunar orbit and on the surface of the Moon. The target date for delivering Canadarm3 to the Gateway is .

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