ABB and Nüvü Camēras, which both have offices in Canada, received a contract to fly exoplanet-hunting camera technology on NASA’s forthcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.
The two-year contract from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will bring the Canadian engineering into space in 2025, on a bid to capture the first space-based images of exoplanets.
“We are very proud to be supplying such a critical component in this groundbreaking mission. It is an exciting project, which will require our most advanced technological expertise to succeed,” Marc Corriveau, general manager of ABB Measurement and Analytics Canada, said in a statement.
“We are thankful to the Canadian Space Agency Space Technology Development Program, which enabled this revolutionary camera technology to be brought to a maturity level sufficient for its consideration by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” added Olivier Daigle, chief technology officer at Montreal-based Nüvü Camēras, in the same statement.
The space telescope will add on to NASA’s ongoing efforts to search for Earth-like worlds outside of the solar system. Previous dedicated space-based planet missions by NASA include the now-completed Kepler space telescope mission, and the ongoing Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) that launched in 2018.
The Roman Space Telescope includes two instruments: one that examines dark energy distribution in space, and a dedicated exoplanet imaging camera called the Coronagraph Imager (CGI). The CGI will have two high-sensitivity cameras with electronic cores developed by ABB and Nüvü. The imager includes components that blocks out a star’s light, making it easier for the cameras to see reflected light off nearby planets.
The newly announced deal comes weeks after ABB disclosed it won a contract award from GHGSat to supply optical sensors that search for methane leaks on Earth-based satellites.