Space Applications for Mining Technologies Opportunity Issued by the Canadian Space Agency

File photo: Property in space - Deep Space Industries Harvestor. Credit: SpaceRef/DSI.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has issued a new opportunity under its Class Grant and Contribution Program in search of space applications for mining technologies. It does come with a catch.

That catch is that this an opportunity that leads to another opportunity once an Initial Recipient is selected. Are you confused yet? Here’s the purpose as described by the CSA.

“In the context of the G&C (Class Grant and Contribution) Program, the purpose of this AO is to seek applications from eligible recipients, hereinafter referred to as Initial Recipients, to select one recipient who will be responsible to further distribute the CSA contribution to Ultimate Recipients to undertake and complete the development of Prospecting and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) related technologies and leveraging the synergies between the mining and space sector.” You have to love government procurement language.

Now normally I would not include the CSA’s definitions from the opportunity, but c’mon, lets have some fun.

Further Distribution of a Contribution is a situation where an Initial Recipient further distributes its contribution funding to one or more Ultimate Recipients. The Further Distribution is based on a clear, transparent, and open decision-making process regarding the selection of Ultimate Recipients and approval of projects to be funded by the Initial Recipient.”

“Initial Recipient are those organizations that will receive a contribution from the CSA to further distribute to Ultimate Recipients. The roles and responsibilities of the Initial Recipient are defined in Section 3.2 – Initial Recipient.”

Ultimate Recipients are those organizations that receive funding from the Initial Recipient to undertake projects as described in Section 2.1 -Purpose and Objectives. The Ultimate Recipients will be selected by the Initial Recipient.”

All of this to say that the CSA won’t be selecting the space applications for mining technologies themselves but rather will select one organization who will do the selecting.

Now once an Initial Recipient is selected the Ultimate Recipients project must meet all of the following objectives.

  • To support the development of science and technology relevant to the priorities of the CSA.
  • To foster the continuing development of a critical mass of researchers and highly qualified people in Canada in areas relevant to the priorities of the CSA.
  • To support information gathering, studies and research related to space.
  • To support the operations of organizations dedicated to space research.
  • To support the development of ISRU-related technologies where advancements would be beneficial and transferrable to the terrestrial mining. This aligns with CSA priority for Space research and development to advance sciences, technologies, applications and expertise.

The Initial Recipient selected will have a maximum of $1.5 million of which an estimated $1.35 million contribution amount will be distributed to Ultimate Recipients. This means that Initial Recipient will get a maximum of $150,000 to manage the project which is 10% of the AO.

An Ultimate Recipient will get a maximum of $675,000 per project. The maximum duration per Ultimate Recipient project is 14 months. The total is estimated at $1.5 million. The estimated start date is September 24, 2023 with the maximum duration ending on March 31, 2025

It’s interesting to note that the Canadian Space Agency didn’t choose to make the selection themselves on what projects to fund. They have been adding more staff to deal with the various new initiatives and it’s not like space applications of mining technologies hasn’t been on the radar for some time.

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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