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New Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program Opportunity Upcoming

Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has posted notice of an upcoming Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) opportunity and is requesting letters of interest.

In the announcement, the CSA said “that in support of the science instrument project element of the LEAP portfolio a Request for Proposal (RFP) is being planned for release by PWGSC in the Winter of 2023.”

The LEAP program has produced support for notable technology developments including, but not limited to, Mission Control Space Services’s AI software which is headed to the moon on the ispace HAKUTO-R mission scheduled for launch within the next week and the biggest announcement to date, Canada’s first lunar rover being developed by Canadensys Aerospace.

The closing date to receive letters of interest is March 20, 2023.

Background, Potential Work Scope and Constraints

The CSA provided in part the following Background, Potential Work Scope and Constraints.

This LOI is to inform industry and academia that due to the limited schedule remaining under LEAP and the risks of the science instrument suites selected by NASA under PRISM-3 not including a Canadian payload, as was the case on the ROSES-2021 F.10 PRISM call, Canada has now elected to issue an RFP for lunar surface investigations in support of the science instrument project element of the LEAP portfolio. Through the RFP for the LEAP science instrument Phases A through D, Canada plans to award a potential contract for the acquisition of an instrument from Canadian industry and/or academia, which Canada will deliver to NASA to fly on a NASA-designated CLPS initiative. As such, the scope and objective of the requirement have been updated accordingly in this LOI.

The scope of the LEAP lunar science instrument project is planned for one or more instruments that would most likely be mounted on a lander (maximum mass of 10 kg). The RFP is targeting the same flight as the PRISM-3 call; however, the LEAP lunar science instrument project will be independent of the PRISM-3 mission team and payloads. Although independent of the PRISM-3 call, NASA intends to review the combination of instruments/payloads in order to ensure hardware compatibility. This could result in the Canadian instrument(s) being moved to a later CLPS manifest. If selected as part of the PRISM-3 CLPS delivery manifest, or launched on a later flight, the LEAP science instrument would collect and disseminate science data from the mission, which would be received and stored within Canada. The RFP will potentially also solicit and consider proposals for science instruments that already have their own flight opportunity to the Moon on a lander, rover or orbiter.

The scope of work will include Phases A through D for a typical space mission relevant to the LEAP. The objective of the Phase A work will be to demonstrate and confirm the feasibility, value and benefits of the instrument for a space mission to the Moon, and to demonstrate the validity of the mission requirements as well as the development of the system requirements. Phases B, C, and D will be the preliminary, detailed and implementation phases respectively of the instrument project.

This LOI may be amended periodically as new information becomes available.

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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