The Canadian Space Agency Awards $1.5M for Human Spaceflight Technology and Medical Study

Credit: CSA/SpaceQ.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded a total of $1.5 million for two projects related to future human exploration in the vicinity of the moon and Mars.

Canadensys Gets Rover Contract

The larger of the two contracts awarded went to Canadensys Aerospace of Caledon, Ontario. The contract is valued at $1.35M before taxes and is for the CSA’s Development of enabling space technologies request for proposals (RFP) issued last July as part of the Space Technology Development Program.

Specifically, the contract is for Priority Technology 2 from the RFP, the Mobility & Environmental Rover Integrated Technology (MERIT), currently envisioned to be used by a rover on the moon, and possibly in conjunction with astronauts in orbit.

In the RFP the CSA categorizes the scope of the work  for MERIT as focused on two critical parts;

  1. A Thermally Regulated Electronics Enclosure (TREE) connected to a suite of radiator(s) and comprising a number of zones (to be defined by the bidder) providing thermal regulation and control of the core internal electronic components of the rover as well as the internal and mounted external sensors, as illustrated in Figure 8. Elements to be considered are further detailed in section 6.2.1. This assembly must be fully tested in a TVAC environment as per the lunar environment requirements described in section 6.3.1; the objective being to reach a TRL5+, 6 for this system.
  2. A fault tolerant rover drivetrain assembly complying with the requirements in section 6.3. as well as a dummy payload, connected to the TREE TVAC assembly. The test setup must apply a variable mechanical load to the drivetrain assembly in order to emulate various relevant driving profiles. In addition to these, emulation of other rover systems such as radioisotope source, LPR habitat and solar arrays is required. The TRL of this portion of MERIT targets lower TRL (4+, 5), but is still required to demonstrate a straightforward path to flight by complementary analysis, simulations and demonstrations in addition to the testing required for the targeted TRL level: ambient thermal and pressure environment as a minimum.

The RFP also identified two other Priority Technologies of which Priority Technology 1 for an Autonomy Software Framework (ASF) was awarded to MDA in November as previously mentioned in the SpaceQ newsletter.  That contract was valued at $800K before taxes.

Priority Technology 3 from the RFP for Scalable Wheels & Advanced Rover Motion (SWARM) has yet to be awarded.

Thales Get Medical Contract

The other contract awarded went to Thales Group’s Quebec City location and is valued at $150K before taxes.

The RFP for this contract was issued last August and is for a study to “develop specific requirements for the medical conditions to be managed autonomously by the crew on a mission to Mars.”

This fits in with the CSA’s push to be a leader in the medical field for future human missions beyond Low Earth Orbit.

The RFP sets out three goals for the contract;

  1. Define a list of medical conditions that would require crew medical autonomy for its management.
  2. Define parameters relevant to individual exploration medical conditions needed to develop requirements for managing the conditions. At a minimum, this will include analysis of possible clinical scenarios and outcomes as well as identification of detailed and treatment capabilities (knowledge, technologies, and supplies).
  3. Develop a database system, or refine the prototype database (RD-02), based on the data obtained in 1 and 2 above. The resulting database (DB) must allow scenario-based queries that will assist the CSA in selecting high-priority diagnostic and therapeutic technologies that Canada could potentially develop and contribute, as well as identification of high-priority decision support capabilities.


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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