CSA issues Space Technology Development Program LOI for 7 Priority Technologies

Credit: CSA/SpaceQ.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has issued its latest notice of Letter of Interest (LOI) for the Space Technology Development Program.

The Space Technology Development Program has become a staple program for the CSA to encourage new ideas that could lead to advances in space technology.

For this LOI the CSA has “identified 7 technologies that it has classified as priorities in connection with possible opportunities for Canadian participation in national or international space missions of interest to Canada.”

The closing date of the LOI is April 17, 2020.

Preliminary List of Priority Technologies

* TRL: Technology Readiness Level
IDTitleTRL*Estimated TimelineEstimated Budget
1Wide-Field Astronomical Imaging in
UV/Optical – Critical Technologies
2 -> 3-422 months$1.5 M
2Enabling Technologies for the Search of New Worlds3 -> 4-622 months$1.0 M
3Mass and Volume Reduction for Planetary Exploration Instrument3-4 -> 5-622 months$1.0 M
4SAR High Speed On-Board Processing4 -> 612-18 months$1.75 M
5Novel SAR Technologies for Low Cost Wide Area Monitoring2 -> 3-612 months$650 k
6Cloud-computing for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processing3 -> 518 months$600 k
7Block Chaining in service of EO big data1 -> 324 months$500 k

The following are short excerpts from each of the Priority Technologies from the LOI which you can download below.

  1. Wide-Field Astronomical Imaging in UV/Optical – Critical TechnologiesUnderstanding the origin and evolution of the universe, galaxies, stars, planets and life itself is a fundamental objective of astronomy. Following community led scientific prioritization in astronomical research in Canada (CSEW 2016, LRP 2010, MTR 2015), the concept for a wide field of view optical / UV space telescope was proposed, mainly for the investigation of dark energy. The concept referred to as CASTOR (Cosmological Advanced Survey Telescope for Optical and UV Research) was proposed as a Canadian led space telescope mission.
  2. Enabling Technologies for the Search of New WorldsThe CSA recently completed studies for future opportunities in space astronomy. Two studies identified opportunities for a Canadian-led small mission that would be dedicated to specific science of exoplanet transits and possibly other time-domain astronomy. CSA has also supported (through FAST grants) projects using the balloon program for testing optical or UV imaging and for adaptive optics for wavefront corrections towards enabling exoplanet imaging. Such early concepts require further development including testing of prototypes or breadboard to assess feasibility, reduce technical risks and increase their TRL. This technology development opportunity targets priority payload or optical technologies that would enable Canada to make a significant contribution to exoplanet science, aligned with CSA and community priorities in this field. The technology areas include, but are not exclusive to, the concepts proposed as results of recent CSA supported studies or activities.
  3. Mass and Volume Reduction for Planetary Exploration InstrumentThe objective of this work is specifically to advance readiness of a mature, low-cost concept targeting a near-term mission opportunity. For the purpose of any potential RFPs, “near-term” is defined as launch before 2027, and, “low-cost” means a CSA mission-lifecycle investment up to $30M. It is envisioned that future RFPs and CSA Preparatory Study opportunities will be made available for the advancement of new ideas and lower TRL planetary instrument concepts, targeting later launch dates.
  4. SAR High Speed On-Board ProcessingThe need for on-board processing (OBP) of data for space-based missions continues to grow due to the increasing quantity of data being acquired by satellites along with operational requirements calling for rapid response to collected data. Accordingly, two types of future SAR missions have been identified that could benefit from OBP, and will be the focus of this study: Earth Observation Missions and an Interplanetary Mission.
  5. Novel SAR Technologies for Low Cost Wide Area MonitoringSeveral trends in SAR technologies can be identified that could potentially improve the ability to satisfy the user needs. A few of these trends are describe here but they are not aimed at restricting the options available to the Contractor and are provided to highlight the range of space and ground based technologies that can be considered under this activity.
  6. Cloud-computing for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data processingThis project will deliver a series of demonstrations of an online platform to discover, access, process, manipulate, and exploit Earth Observation data (such as from Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM).
  7. Block Chaining in service of EO big dataThis project proposes to explore new technologies to enhance security and protect valuable Earth Observation (EO) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. Distribution of SAR data must be controlled and sensitive data must be protected from unauthorized access. Earth Observation in Canada is subject to multiple regulations such as those that flow from the Remote Systems Sensing Space Act (RSSSA) which, in particular, shape the protection afforded to raw SAR data and the remote sensing products generated from that raw data.

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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