Canada is going to the moon, that was the message Prime Minister Trudeau announced almost 10 months ago. We now know another one of the companies that could make that announcement a reality.
Mission Control Space Services Inc. is the first company to be announced as being awarded a contract for the Canadian Space Agency’s Lunar Surface Autonomous Science Payloads (LSASP) program.
Mission Control, as it refers to itself, is a company with a focus on mission operations, onboard autonomy, artificial intelligence and considers itself a space exploration and robotics company.
It won’t come as much of a surprise to insiders that Mission Control is one of the recipients of a contract under LSASP program. The company has been honing its software and skill sets for years planning to be there when someone came calling for their expertise. And it’s founder, Ewan Reid has plenty of experience working at NASA’s mission control for several space shuttle missions.
While Mission Control is the first contract award announced by Public Services and Procurement Canada for the LSASP program, there will be up to five more announced in the coming weeks.
The contract is worth $659,759.89 with an 18 month window to complete the work.
The CSA will likely issue a press release once all the contracts have been awarded with further details on each contract available at that time.
The purpose of the Lunar Surface Autonomous Science Payloads Program
While much of the public focus on the moon has been centred on the human aspect of the NASA led Artemis program, including the Lunar Gateway, much of the work on the moon’s surface will be robotic. Canada wants to be there, leading the way with a variety of technologies, both for scientific research and future commercial use of local resources.
Mission Control and other companies are working on getting some initial scientific payloads to the surface, hopefully within the next five years. At least that’s the goal of the CSA and the LSASP program.
The initial contracts being awarded are all for concept studies or further technology developments. The CSA will have to see the results of the Mission Control and other contracts before making any final decision on when an actual Canadian mission to the surface of the moon will take place.
The CSA defined the program as follows;
“The Lunar Surface Autonomous Science Payloads (LSASP) are defined as highly visible science mission enabling capabilities in the form of payload, instrument or mission sub-systems or component either static or mobile further detailed in section 7 with the proper level of autonomy to successfully perform its key contribution to a clearly identified mission on the surface of the Moon. This implies that the LSASP must comply with the lunar environment in accomplishing its mission such as being subject to extreme temperature variations, permanently shadowed area throughout the lunar night and; regolith and radiation exposure of the lunar surface. Either equatorial or polar landing sites are possible, but for the benefit of the majority of the currently planned missions: focusing on scientific exploration of the Moon and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), polar destinations, in particular, the far side south pole destination are the most likely destinations of interest and the primary targets according to the GER (RD-5).”
The Canadian Space Agency procurement notice with full LSASP program details.ABES.PROD.PW_MTB.B770.E15431.EBSU000