The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced new funding for small- and medium-sized businesses to contribute technologies to national and international efforts to return to and explore the moon.
In a federal government release, the CSA notes it awarded seven contracts worth a total of $4.36 million to five companies and one university. The funds come from the CSA’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), which hopes to prepare Canada’s space sector for humanity’s return to the moon by earmarking $150 million over five years.
Specifically, those funds are destined for small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada that will help develop technologies for use and testing in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface. Related fields include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and health.
In the case of these initial contracts, the companies and the university involved will advance concepts for nano- and micro-rovers, as well as autonomous science instruments.
Full details of the companies and contracts are listed below:
- ABB (Quebec) will receive $693,193 to design, build and test the prototype for an autonomous lunar exploration infrared spectrometer that will remotely measure and study the mineralogical composition of the Moon’s surface.
- Bubble Technology Industries Inc. (Ontario) will receive $698,321 to develop a spectrometer that will autonomously search for hydrogen to indicate the presence of water and ice near the Moon’s surface.
- Canadensys Aerospace Corporation (Ontario) will receive two contracts worth a total of $1,099,366 to develop concept designs, technologies and prototypes for two different classes of small Canadian lunar science rovers – a nano-rover and a micro-rover.
- Magellan Aerospace (Manitoba) will receive $607,258 to develop a lunar impactor probe that will deliver instruments to the surface of the Moon, including sensors to detect water in the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon.
- Mission Control Space Services Inc. (Ontario) will receive $573,829 to advance an Autonomous Soil Assessment System as an AI-based science support tool for rovers navigating on the Moon.
- Western University (Ontario) will receive $690,123 to develop an integrated vision system for surface operations that will be used for identification of the geology of the lunar surface and for rover navigation.
You can learn more about the CSA contracts here.