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Notice – Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program capability demonstration (AO)

Publication date:

Table of contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Eligible projects and description of the AO
  3. Important comments
  4. Email address and response deadline

1. Purpose

In , the Canadian Government announced Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program (LEAP) as part of a new National Space Strategy to "position Canada's commercial space sector to help grow the economy and create the jobs of the future". The Federal Budget confirmed that Canadian Space Agency (CSA) can access up to $150M over five years starting in - for LEAP to "help small and medium-sized enterprises develop new technologies to be used and tested in lunar orbit and on the Moon's surface."

The strategy enables Canada and its space sector to grow the economy and create the jobs of the future by advancing science, developing and demonstrating space technologies and participating in new commercial and science mission opportunities linked to our participation in Lunar exploration while generating benefits for Canadians in space and on Earth.

The CSA is thus informing the Canadian space sector of its intention to proceed with the posting of a potential Announcement of Opportunity (AO) as part of its LEAP utilizing the CSA Class Grants and Contributions Program – Research component.

The objective of this AO is to support the development of a proto-flight model, and its adaptation, delivery, integration, and launch as a Canadian payload (science and/or technology) with a lunar launch vehicle. This will result in a first attempt for Canada to conduct a basic research and development (R&D) space demonstration of science and/or technology on the Moon and beyond (lunar surface, lunar orbit, or deep space) by . These activities will enable the selected Canadian organizations to further their basic R&D capabilities with the ultimate purpose of increasing the commercial potential of Canadian organizations, as well as increasing lunar scientific return for Canada.

The objectives of this notice are the following:

Comments and suggestions will not be used in a formal assessment; however, they could be used in the preparation of a potential AO. No additional exchange on the subjects raised should be expected.

The CSA encourages any interested organization to submit comments or suggestions in response to this notice no later than ; however, participation in this notice is neither a condition nor a prerequisite for participation or being selected for funding in any subsequent AO. This notice will not be used to establish a list of CSA selected funding recipients under any upcoming AO.

2. Eligible projects and description of the AO

Eligible projects are science and/or technology, which is/are required to be manifested with a lunar payload delivery service provider for launch before , as demonstrated with a letter of agreement or launch service agreement. The agreement should include the rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs and a launch schedule.

LEAP Capability Demonstration AO - A competitive AO open for 3 years with a bi-annual award window estimated to be on and , and , and and (i.e. every 6 months) until total funding available of $8M is reached. The AO will result in non-repayable contribution projects of up to $4 million per recipient, for R&D through a capability demonstration of science and/or technology by 2024 on the lunar surface, in lunar orbit, or in deep space.

Projects should target a duration, starting from the signing of a contribution agreement until . The R&D projects should be those whose potential for the expected economic and scientific benefits is in the medium to long term (i.e. between 5 and 10 years).

The definition of basic R&D used by the CSA, and for this notice, is as follows:

"Any pre-commercial technology activities that are carried out to resolve unknowns regarding the feasibility of space concepts in the space sector."

The following due diligence process will be applied to determine whether projects are compliant with this definition.

Note: This category is open to all for-profit and not for-profit Canadian businesses as well as Canadian universities.

Approved proposals from for-profit organizations will be qualified for a total government (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal) assistance of up to a maximum of 75% of total eligible project costs.

Approved proposals from not-for-profit organizations and universities will be qualified for a total CSA assistance of up to a maximum of 75% of total eligible project costs and for a total government (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal) assistance of up to a maximum of 100% of total eligible project costs.

All development phases necessary for a project are eligible. Any logical breakdown or combination of these phases can constitute a funded project. However, breaking down a project into numerous phases to obtain more than the maximum contribution of the AO is not allowed. Furthermore, if a proposal is for pursuing a standalone R&D found in another awarded contribution (past or on-going), the proposed follow-up R&D, even if funded in a new contribution agreement, is considered another phase of R&D of the same G&C project for which the program has a cumulative limit of $5M. If the maximum funding for one project is not reached, the completion of a funded phase does not automatically guarantee funding of the remaining phases.

In order to speed up the process, proposals will have to be submitted on a standard template that will be provided with the AO.

3. Important comments

This notice is not an AO and should not be considered as a commitment on the part of the Government of Canada to publish one. No agreement based on this notice will be concluded. This notice does not in any way authorize prospective interested organizations to undertake work, the cost of which could be claimed from Canada.

In the information provided to Canada, organizations submitting comments or suggestions are encouraged to indicate the presence of any information which they consider as exclusive, personal or belonging to a third party. Please note that Canada may be required by law (e.g., in response to a request under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act) to disclose information that is proprietary or sensitive at the commercial level.

Organizations submitting comments or suggestions are required to indicate whether their response, or any part thereof, is subject to the Controlled Goods Regulations.

Organizations submitting comments or suggestions will receive no reimbursement for the costs incurred in replying to this notice.

It should be noted that the descriptions of the AO in section 2 and the total AO budget are subject to change between now and the official publication of the AO, if necessary.

The CSA encourages the space industry to collaborate with the academic sector in the implementation of the AO by promoting projects that will include student and academic participation. To this effect, potential applicants may be interested in contacting Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization which helps companies access the talent, technologies, and strategic partnerships they need to innovate and grow, to investigate if and how academic researchers and highly skilled graduate or postdoctoral talent can be leveraged on research projects in collaboration with universities. This information is provided to help potential applicants start identifying potential partnerships and financial leverage prior to the official posting.

Applicants are also encouraged to propose projects that increase the representation and advancement of women and underrepresented groups in space sciences and engineering as one means to foster excellence in research and training.

For guidance, publication of the AO is targeted for the / timeframe on the CSA website. Several factors may influence this date, or even lead to the cancellation of such a publication.

This notice is subject to change. If necessary, these changes will be published on the CSA website.

4. Email address and response deadline

Interested organizations can email their comments or suggestions to the following address, no later than :

Email: paelexploration-explorationleap@asc-csa.gc.ca

The deadline was set to ensure that the comments and suggestions received can be processed. Comments will be accepted until the AO is published (where relevant); however, due to the posting date planned for this AO, it is possible that late comments may not be duly considered.

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