Canadensys Lunar Rover Mission contract augmented and team revealed

Canadensys lunar rover prototype test campaign. Tests conducted by Canadensys at the Canadian Space Agency outdoor test facility in St-Hubert, Quebec. Credit: Canadensys Aerospace Corp.

Canadensys is vying to lead the first Lunar Rover Mission (LRM) for Canada. To that end it received a Phase A contract last fall from the Canadian Space Agency. That contract has now been augmented with an additional $270,000.

Canadensys said it “received authorization from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for Canadensys to start planning for the integration of the NASA-contributed payload onto the LRM. This additional funding will ensure the final rover design is optimal for the full international payload suite.”

Canadensys told SpaceQ by email that the funding “is for additional work done in Phase A and does not extend the overall Phase A schedule.” In fact, they further stated that “this is a good thing, because we are aggressively moving forward with the LRM activities and do not want to introduce any delays in getting the Canadian rover onto the lunar surface.”

Canadensys lunar rover prototype test campaign. Tests conducted by Canadensys at the Canadian Space Agency outdoor test facility in St-Hubert, Quebec. Credit: Canadensys Aerospace Corp.

The first ever Canadian lunar rover mission is planning for a 2026 landing. It is a joint mission with NASA with Canada as the lead. Canada will provide a micro rover and most of the instrumentation. NASA will provide one of the key instruments as well as a launch to the Moon via their Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

Canadensys told SpaceQ that “NASA is funding our US partners directly for their part of these joint activities. The new CSA funding supports us on the Canadian side to work with our US partners.”

Canadensys had originally been awarded a $1.6M Phase A contract. They weren’t alone in receiving a phase A contract. They are in competition with MDA who received a $1.76M contract. The Canadian Space Agency is expected to downselect to one rover design later this year.

In a press release Christian Sallaberger, President & CEO at Canadensys said “This continued support by the Canadian Space Agency enables collaborative work and rapid progress on the LRM Program with our major partners in the US.”

Partners revealed

At the time the contract was awarded Canadensys did not reveal who was on their team. We can now report that their extensive team includes Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, NASA Ames Research Center, NGC Aerospace, Maya Heat Transfer Technologies, Nokia, Bubble Technology Industries, Waves in Space, Simon Fraser University, Avalon Space, Western University, the University of Winnipeg, l’Université de Sherbrooke, Centre des Technologies Avancées, Leap Biosystems and Surrey Satellite Technology.

Canadensys Lunar Rover Mission partners. Credit: Canadensys.
Canadensys Lunar Rover Mission partners. Credit: Canadensys.

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory is well known and regarded for their planetary exploration work.

Benjamin Greenhagen, Principal Investigator on LRM’s US science payload said “APL is proud to be leading the NASA-contributed science payload elements. We have a history of working with Canadensys and are thrilled to be working with them again on a lunar surface mission and with their entire Canadian team on this historic Canada/US collaborative program.”

Canadensys said “the team’s scientific investigators are among the leading lunar researchers in Canada and the US, and are affiliated with the core team organizations as well as Arizona State University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Alberta, and York University.”

Canadensys has kept a low profile over the last several years, rarely talking in detail about its contracts including foreign ones. However SpaceQ has learned that Canadensys has won double contracts for a variety of sensors. Several of those sensors will fly this year and Canadensys intends to share more information on their successes.

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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