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Lunar Exploration Analogue Deployment (LEAD) - Science Investigation & Capability Demonstration

Request for Information (RFI)

Publication date:

Application deadline: New!

Table of contents

  1. Purpose and Nature of the RFI
  2. Context of the CSA LEAD Project
  3. Potential AO(s) Priorities
  4. Potential AO Features
  5. Schedule
  6. Important Notes to Respondents
  7. Closing date for the RFI

1. Purpose and Nature of the RFI

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is seeking information from Canadian post-secondary institutions and the industry sector on the nature and extent of their interest to participate in the CSA-led Lunar Exploration Analogue Deployment (LEAD) Project.

As a result of the information received in response to this RFI, the CSA may consider the posting of an Announcement of Opportunities (AO) for academia and one for industry as part of its Grants and Contributions (G&C) Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology – Research component.

The purpose of the potential AO(s) would be to provide financial support for lunar science and technology projects commencing with preparatory activities in 2018 and culminating with the participation in a remote analogue site deployment in 2019.

The objectives of this RFI are the following:

2. Context of the CSA LEAD Project

Key aspects of the Space Policy Framework of Canada are ensuring that Canada is a sought-after partner in international space exploration missions that serve Canada's national interests, and, continuing to invest in the development of Canadian contributions in the form of advanced systems and scientific instruments as part of major international endeavours.

To help determine the nature of Canada's potential contribution to future international space exploration and science missions, the CSA engages in three types of activities:

The CSA is preparing to conduct a LEAD Project to position Canada for a potential future contribution to a specific lunar rover mission concept designed to demonstrate capabilities for human exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit. The LEAD analogue mission scenario is based on the Human-Enhanced Robotic Architecture and Capabilities for Lunar Exploration and Science (HERACLES) concept which is being developed as a collaboration between European Space Agency (ESA), CSA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NASA.

The design reference mission for HERACLES involves a 70-day lunar sample return mission nominally at Schrodinger Crater in the south polar region of the Moon, and a year-long traverse to explore the region and validate future human mission landing sites. More details of the mission concept are provided in the following CSA document:

"Space Exploration Science Maturation Study: Precursor to Human and Scientific Rover Lunar Demonstrator Mission" - Appendix A (sections A.3 and A.4.5).

The objectives for the LEAD Project include:

To this end, the LEAD Project intends to select an appropriate Lunar Analogue site in early fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019 for a remote deployment in the June to November 2019 period. The site will be selected in collaboration with ESA for: scientific relevance to HERACLES; logistics suitable for rover testing; and a clear minimum stretch of 300m for autonomous navigation. It is anticipated to be in North America or Europe. A potential site being investigated is Crater of the Moon, Idaho, USA.

Command and control of rover operations will be from the CSA Headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec in conjunction with international partners (e.g. ESA). The HERACLES science operations centre can be anticipated to be at a Canadian university which will be contracted independently of the potential AO(s) mentioned here above.

3. Potential AO(s) Priorities

The priorities of the potential AO(s) would be projects that address the specific objectives of the LEAD Project (Section 2):

  1. Priority 1) LEAD HERACLES core Projects: Validating science and operations requirements for HERACLES: This opportunity allows the scientific community to test and develop science instruments and operations approaches:

    • All instrument projects relevant to lunar science, and Space Exploration Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Prospecting (PGGP) and Planetary Space Environment (PSE) Topical Teams priorities are eligible. Link to Topical Team reports.
    • Depending on their relevance to the final HERACLES science scenario, these instruments may be integrated into the LEAD HERACLES science operations plan, or operated to provide science data for validation, or test of parallel operations approaches.
    • Some HQP associated with each selected project will participate in remote science operations at the Canadian HERACLES university remote science operations centre, in hands-on, remote science team staffing roles for which training will be provided.
    • Project Teams will be required to participate in a kickoff meeting and lessons learned meeting for the 2019 analogue mission.
  2. Priority 2) LEAD complementary or separate Projects: Advancing community lunar science and technology that can benefit from test and demonstration at the LEAD analogue site. This opportunity allows academia or industry to propose projects which will likely not be integrated directly into LEAD HERACLES operations. Examples include, but are not limited to the following science and technologies:

    • Lunar micro-rover missions, aligned with objectives of the CSA PGGP or PSE Topical Teams
    • Scientific approaches for lunar prospecting
    • Lunar drilling and sample acquisition
    • Lunar In Situ Resource Utilisation demonstration
    • Rover GNC
    • Rover wheels
    • Lunar rover power systems
    • Lunar surface communications systems

The overarching goals are to address the CSA's G&C Program Objectives related to research and training:

4. Potential AO Features

Implementation of Recipient's projects:

Participating academic institution and industry projects may be implemented as either "core" (science academic institution only, as mentioned in Section 3) , "complementary" or "separate" (stand-alone) capability demonstrations with respect to the LEAD Project.

For example, complementary activities could be run as a secondary payload or as an additional capability integrated with the LEAD HERACLES core Projects. Stand-alone activities could be run separately, but concurrent with LEAD HERACLES core Project activities (on a non-interference basis) at the LEAD Project's selected remote deployment site location.

Based on responses to this RFI, the CSA would evaluate which activities proposed from academia and industry may be integrated into the LEAD HERACLES core Project, and the need and availability for additional CSA infrastructure to support complementary and separate projects.

CSA provisions:

Juno, a rugged, all-terrain rover

Text version - Juno, a rugged, all-terrain rover - Infographic

Figure 1. Possible CSA LEAD HERACLES Project Rover and Instrument/Payload configuration. (Credit: CSA)

For the purpose of planning and responding to this RFI, the assumption should be that one tele-operated/semi-autonomous CSA rover will be deployed to address HERACLES objectives. This rover can be assumed to be equipped by the CSA with a small manipulator, a LiDAR, one pan & tilt zoom camera and a number of fixed navigation cameras, as illustrated in Figure 1.

It must be noted that the LEAD HERACLES analogue science scenario and rover configuration will continue to evolve over the next few months with further definition and refinement of the HERACLES mission requirements.

CSA will ensure training is provided to HQP participating in HERACLES science operations.

Additional CSA tele-operated/semi-autonomous rovers may be available for community science and technology demonstrations depending on the findings from this RFI.

The CSA would provide access to, and technical support for the use of CSA facilities (e.g. analogue terrain), mobility platforms (e.g. rovers) and could include associated Infrastructure (e.g. local WiFi & Satellite data network communications) by the Recipients for preparatory activities, as required, at the CSA, the Recipient's home location and/or the selected remote analogue deployment site.

The CSA would provide coordination and oversight to ensure that all activities carried out by participating parties, occurring at the same location (CSA and/or the remote analogue deployment site), do not conflict with one another.

G&C awarded under this potential AO are expected to cover travel (from the funded organization to the sites required for preparatory activities and the final selected remote analogue deployment site), logistics (equipment transport), instrument/payload-to-rover interface modification (as required) and associated labor costs. The maximum amount of funding for the potential AO(s) and individual applicants would be determined after consideration of the information provided by respondents to this RFI, and the final site selection.

5. Schedule

Academic and Industry sector consultation (RFI)

Publication of the Potential AO(s)

6. Important Notes to Respondents

Respondents to this RFI are encouraged to provide feedback by completing the Form provided in Appendix A. Any other pertinent information may be attached to this form as the respondents may feel necessary.

Respondents are asked to provide the following information:

This RFI is neither a call for tender nor a Request for Proposal (RFP). No agreement or contract will be entered into based on this RFI.

The issuance of this RFI is not to be considered in any way a commitment by the Government of Canada, nor as an authority to potential respondents to undertake any work that could be charged to Canada.

This RFI is not to be considered as a commitment to issue a subsequent AO or award grant or contribution agreement(s) for a participation in the LEAD Project described herein.

It is important to note that some information provided in this RFI may be subject to change, in part or in its entirety, or could be removed prior to an official publication of any AO(s). This RFI is not to be considered as a commitment on any part of the scope of work described.

Respondents are encouraged to identify, in the information they share with Canada, any information that they feel is proprietary, third party or personal information. Please note that Canada may be obligated by law (e.g. in response to a request under the Access of Information and Privacy Act) to disclose proprietary or commercially-sensitive information concerning a respondent.

Respondents are asked to identify if their response, or any part of their response, is subject to the Controlled Goods Regulations.

Responding to this RFI is encouraged, but is not mandatory. Similarly, responding to this RFI is not a condition or prerequisite for the participation in any potential subsequent AO(s).

Responses will not be submitted to a formal assessment. However, they could be used in the preparation of potential AO(s). No additional exchange on the subjects raised should be expected, though clarification may be requested as needed.

Respondents shall take care to provide the contact details of a resource person.

Respondents will not be reimbursed for any cost incurred by participating in this RFI.

Interested respondents from post-secondary institutions and industry can submit their responses via email to the following address, no later than December 7, 2017 New!;


Changes to this RFI may occur and will be advertised on the CSA Web Site and the Government Electronic Tendering System. Canada asks respondents to visit CSA and regularly to check for changes to this RFI, if any.

7. Closing date for the RFI

Responses to this RFI should arrive at the CSA or PSPC Contracting Authority identified above no later than December 7, 2017 New!.

The RFI closing date is the deadline to ensure that the comments received can be processed. Comments will be accepted until the potential AO(s) are published (where relevant); however, due to the posting date envisaged for the AO(s), it is possible that the late comments may not be fully considered.

Appendix A – LEAD RFI Response Template

Canadian Space Agency
Lunar Exploration Analogue Deployment (LEAD)
Request for Information Response Template
Paragraph limits are for guidance: short answers are sought.
English version, français disponible
Proposed Project title  
Team Lead/PI name   Team lead organisation  
Contact for correspondence Team Lead Email and telephone number
Other team members List names and organisations
Proposed Project objectives and implementation plan Short description (1-2 paragraphs).
Relevance to LEAD Project Priorities

State whether intent is to integrate the proposed project in the LEAD Priority 

  1. as a 'core' project, or is to propose a project distinct to the LEAD Priority 
  2. as a 'complementary' or 'stand- alone' project.

Describe relevance to priority (1 paragraph).

Estimated number of HQP For a project presented under Priority 1) include the number of HQP who would participate in the LEAD HERACLES analogue mission science operations.
Team hardware to be brought to the analogue site List and describe instruments and technology hardware owned by the team to be brought to and demonstrated at the analogue site. Include whether the instruments and technology hardware are 'field-ready', or require improvements. Provide details on such improvements required. (1 paragraph).
Need for use of CSA hardware to achieve Project objectives If applicable, list and describe CSA-owned hardware for which use is sought: instruments, rovers, etc. (1 paragraph).
Need for access to CSA facilities infrastructure, training and technical support If applicable, list and describe CSA Facilities (e.g. Analogue Terrain), infrastructure (e.g. portable WiFi and Satellite Communications systems) and training required for your proposed project (1 paragraph).
Proposed Project needs for the analogue site Describe any specific needs, such as geological features of the analogue site, that are required to meet your proposed project's objectives.
Preliminary schedule for the Proposed Project For a project presented under Priority 2), describe the key milestones for the project activities in FY 18/19 and FY 19/20 and the anticipated number of days required at the remote analogue site.
ROM cost estimates and funding sought from CSA Provide your ROM project implementation costs for FY18/19 and FY19/20, with brief justification: e.g. personnel, equipment, travel, etc. For travel, assume the Crater of the Moon site, but note that the eventual site selected for the LEAD Project may be elsewhere, and CSA would adjust expectations of travel budgets accordingly. For funding sought from CSA, terms and conditions of the CSA G&C program would apply.
International participation Provide information on the expected role and contribution of any international team members.
Information sensitivity Note here whether any of the information provided in this response is sensitive or proprietary.
Other comment or suggestions Provide any additional comments or suggestions, if needed.
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