Canadian Lunar Gateway Proposals Go Ahead Despite Uncertainty in the US

DSXR concept on the Lunar Gateway. Credit: CSA.

Following up on its earlier request for information issued in late January, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) last Friday issued the expected follow-up request for proposals (RFP) for the Deep Space Exploration Robotics (DSXR) initiative.

The RFP comes at time where there is some uncertainty in the US with respect to the path the Trump administration wants NASA to pursue versus the reality of the political situation.

The Trump administration has told NASA to accelerate its plan to send Americans to the moon. Instead of following a path which follows the global exploration roadmap developed by many national space agencies including Canada’s CSA, President Trump now wants NASA to send Americans to the moon by 2024.

NASA is scrambling to provide the White House with an updated plan and cost it out. That plan would be very expensive and it’s unclear Congress will fund it. Many US lawmakers are skeptical about the plan but are waiting for NASA to provide the cost estimate.

As for Canada, SpaceQ has spoken with sources within Canadian industry that say that at this time they’re moving ahead with the Lunar Gateway plan as part of the overall US led moon effort. That effort might need to be accelerated, and if so, it’s unclear if Canada could meet a new deadline.

This RFP is only for the Phase A of the project which aims at defining the systems requirements. The work is meant to be completed on or before August 31, 2020. The CSA is expecting to issue two contracts for the DSXR Gateway External Robotics Interfaces (GERI).

The two interfaces this RFP cover are an “exploration large arm” (XLA) and an “exploration dexterous arm” (XDA). The XLA contract is valued at no more than $2,727,000, while the XDA contract is valued at no more than $3,809,500. Proposals are due by Thursday June 13th, 2019. MDA is expected to be the beneficiary of these contracts.

Preliminary concept of DSXR elements with interfaces
Preliminary concept of DSXR elements with interfaces. Credit: CSA.

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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