DRDC Seeks Proposals for Space LEO Architecture Initiative

Illustration of the DND Gray Jay satellite. Credit: Department of National Defence/SFL.

The Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) has issued a Call for Proposals for a Space low Earth orbit (LEO) Architecture.

The Calls for Proposals (CFP) was issued in May 21, 2024 and has a closing date of July 10, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

The CFP is described as follows.

“The future defence and security of Canada will rely on reliable, resilient and secure communications to connect people, military assets and sensors everywhere. While conventional geostationary satellites may be part of a potential communications solution, the Arctic region is out of their range, and even in southern Canada they have limited throughput and long transmission delays. In recent years, large constellations of commercial satellites at low earth orbit (LEO) have shown that they can process a high volume of data with minimal delay, known as high throughput, low latency communications, to users across the world, including Canada’s Arctic.”

“DRDC’s space LEO architecture initiative seeks to exploit these technological advances, undertaking research, development and analysis into the key technologies required to build a network of space assets which will connect different types of on-orbit capability, such as remote sensing, imaging and data processing. The goal is a resilient, flexible, scalable and secure space-based information ecosystem that can fulfil a wide variety of possible future mission requirements.”

The DRDC CFP has two project types.

1. Technology Demonstration Project  

Technology Demonstrations are projects that advance the understanding of a technology, application or capability by undertaking R&D in an operational environment.  This project type enables the demonstration of an existing capability in a context relevant to the Challenge, and the collection and analysis of data to evaluate how the capability performs.  In this CFP, Technology Demonstration Projects will use existing on-orbit technology to demonstrate a capability and undertake experiments and analysis to support R&D objectives.  

2. Technology Pilot Project  

Technology Pilots are projects that involve the development of a new capability on a small scale to evaluate its impact, strengths and weaknesses.  This project type enables the demonstration of a new capability in a context relevant to the Challenge, and the collection and analysis of data to evaluate how the capability performs.  In this CFP, Technology Pilot Projects will develop, build and launch new on-orbit technology to demonstrate a capability and undertake experiments and analysis to support R&D objectives.    

More details on the CFP are available at CanadaBuys.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and Executive Vice President, Content of SpaceNews. Boucher has 25+ 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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