Canadian Space Agency projects to be part of future space missions


September 25, 2018

Article originally published on authored by Karen Graham

The Canadian Space Agency issued a tender this week, looking for projects that will put Canada in position to contribute to future space missions involving human and robotic exploration of the moon and beyond.

Companies will have a chance to demonstrate technologies next year at the agency’s Saint-Hubert, Quebec next year with possible follow-up testing in the Canary Islands in 2020.

According to the Toronto Star, the Canadian Space Agency is already working quietly with space agencies in Europe, Japan, and the United States on the next phases of exploring the final frontier.

The Alouette 1 was the first satellite built by a country other than the United States or Soviet Uni...

The Alouette 1 was the first satellite built by a country other than the United States or Soviet Union.
MONTE D. WRIGHT, Director, NASA History Office

NASA, the U.S. space agency, is already working toward launching the Lunar Gateway, an outpost that would orbit the moon, a lunar-orbiting space station that would allow four astronauts to have access to the moon’s surface for weeks at a time to carry out experiments and exploration.

According to the Global News, there is already talk of Canada contributing an advanced moon rover for future missions.

“The next focus for exploration is to move deeper into space, to go to the moon and to Mars,” said Mike Greenley, group president of MDA, a leading space technology firm. “And so the next series of projects, over the next five to seven years, will be to get back to the moon, and then over the next 12 to 15 years, to move beyond that to Mars.”


Space Shuttle Endeavour docked to the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station is fea...

Space Shuttle Endeavour, docked to the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station, is featured in this image photographed by a crewmember during the STS-118 mission. The shuttle’s Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) robotic arm and station’s Canadarm2 are also featured in the scene.

Canada a leader in space robotics

Canada has been involved in space exploration for over half a century, beginning with the 1962 launch of satellite Alouette I to study the ionosphere. And eight Canadian astronauts have participated in 16 missions into space since 1984.

Canada has also proven to be a leader in space robotics with the deployment of its Canadarm to the International Space Station (ISS). Now, Canada wants industry to propose projects that will enhance the country’s next generation of lunar exploration.

The Canadian Space Agency is looking for projects including, but not limited to:

  • Lunar rover power systems and wheels;
  • Rover guidance, navigation, and control;
  • Communications systems for use on the moon;
  • Lunar drilling and sample acquisition;
  • Approaches to lunar prospecting.

Greenley expects international partners to call on Canada – given its expertise – to contribute artificial intelligence-based robotics to help build and operate the new orbiting station, as well as designing and building rovers and assisting with space mining.

#DontLetGoCanada campaign

MDA and a number of space-sector groups recently launched the #DontLetGoCanada campaign. Its purpose is to raise awareness of Canada’s accomplishments in space and the benefits that flow from federal spending and support.

Help support the #DontLetGoCanada coalition by sending an email to your MP and signing the e-petition.