The CSA is Looking for Letters of Interest for the Lunar Gateway Canadarm3

An artist’s concept of Canada’s smart robotic system, Canadarm3, located on the exterior of the Gateway, a small space station in orbit around the Moon. Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA.

The Canadian Space Agency issued a Letter of Interest notice on Friday, July 26 for the Lunar Gateway Canadarm3.

Canada has committed to participate in the NASA led Artemis program which includes the Lunar Gateway. That commitment includes $1.9 billion over 24 years as part of an overall new space strategy.

For this Letter of Interest (LOI) notice, the Canadian Space Agency stated the purpose is to engage “suppliers in support of the Lunar Gateway robotics requirement. Industry Engagement activities will be used to give vendors an overview of the Gateway Robotics System Concept and support Canada in the development of key requirements, sourcing strategies and project timelines optimization.”

Those activities include holding an Industry Day webinar, one-on-one meetings, and an an Industry Fair. The CSA released the following timeline from this LOI to when an anticipated RFP might be issued.

  • First Industry Day by Webinar: August 13, 2019
  • One-on-one Meetings: August 13,2019 – Late Fall 2019
  • Second Industry Day during Industry Fair: September 18, 2019
  • Draft Request for Proposal (RFP) Review: Late Fall 2019
  • RFP Issued: Early 2020

The CSA also released the following Canadarm3 concept requirements.

Though the complete and/or detailed design and manufacturing requirements for the project have yet to be determined, Canada’s initial concept for the Canadarm3 robotic system is proposed to include the following elements:

  1. The eXploration Large Arm and its Tools (XLA): Allows the system to perform inspection and maintenance operations, deploy payloads, capture and berth visiting vehicles, support Extra Vehicular Activities (EVAs), reconfigure the Gateway and assemble Lunar Landers.
  2. The eXploration Dexterous Arm (small arm or XDA): Enhances the capabilities of the large arm and performs its maintenance, possibly capable of supporting payload exchanges through a Gateway airlock.
  3. Various Robotic Interface Fixtures, Platforms and Receptacles: Needed on the different Gateway modules, components and on the robotic system itself. These will ensure the required mobility for the two arms to perform their work, enable payload manipulation and provide worksites for experiments.
  4. Ground Segment and Robotic Integration: Ground infrastructure that will provide planning, monitoring, commanding, training and visualization functions in support of operating the Robotics system from Canada; Support in integrated planning of Gateway assembly, logistics and utilization; will enable and manage the configuration of external science platforms.

More on this topic: Lunar Gateway.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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