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The development of lunar rover and the scientific payloads in Canada

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is undertaking efforts to construct lunar science payloads as well as a small rover on a lander mission that is NASA-sponsored that could fly to the moon. The CSA revealed on November 27 that it had given six contracts to five firms and institutions of higher learning with a combined amount of $2.2 million for early “phase 0” tests of lunar research instruments. The devices range from the spectrometers as well as particle telescopes to the payload of “agricultural feasibility.” The contracts, with different prices ranging from $300,000 to $600,000, are planned to research the viability of the tools suggested and how lunar exploration could be funded. It is estimated that the contracts will run for up to 9 months.

The deals are part of the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) of CSA, a project launched by the Canadian government in February 2019 at the very same time as it reported it would supply the NASA-led lunar gateway with a robotic arm. The scheme, with a budgeted cost of $150 million over 5 years, is expected to fund a wide variety of lunar exploration-related research as well as technology projects. Apart from the science awards, two firms which are Canadensys Aerospace Corporation, as well as NGC Aerospace Ltd., were awarded lucrative contracts worth $3.3 million on October 29 for the production of the lunar technology payloads by the CSA. To have panoramic views of the lunar surface, Canadensys will build a 360-degree telescope, while the NGC Aerospace would illustrate a navigation system.

CSA is in the early stages of a ‘microrover’ which in collaboration with NASA, it aims to build and fly. The agency released a letter of interest on October 23 stating that by early 2021, it would officially release a request for proposal (RFP) for the rover, issuing two contracts in the summer for Phase A feasibility studies. For full-scale production, CSA would then choose one. The rover will be 30 kilograms in weight and will carry two payloads, one supplied by CSA and the other by NASA. “The concept is that we would like this mission to show and collect science data on Canadian lunar mobility technology mostly on the moon,” said Erick Dupuis. He is the CSA’s Director in charge of Space Exploration Development, during the November 27 Canadian Space Summit online conference session.

On the NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) lander flight, Dupuis stated CSA had arranged a trip to the moon. In addition, in return for the launch, they are providing accommodation for a U.S. instrument on their rover. He said that NASA deal also entails flying extra Canadian lunar research payloads, attached to landers, on CLPS missions.

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