As expected the Canadian Space Agency has begun to release the first in series of Request for Proposals (RFP) related to future post-ISS human spaceflight, space exploration and space astronomy with the release of its Lunar Surface Mobility Concept RFP.
The RFP builds on previous work going back to 2009 commissioned by the agency with previous contracts going to MDA, Neptec and Ontario Drive and Gear. The study is to be completed over six months and up to two proposals will be selected.
The following is from the RFP.
The exploration of space is a highly visible endeavour, a powerful driver for scientific and technical innovation, a magnet for world-class talent, and an incentive for young Canadians to pursue careers in science and technology. This study is part of the implementation of the Space Policy Framework of Canada in which the Government commits to: ensuring that Canada is a sought-after partner in the international space exploration Missions that serve Canada’s national interests; and continuing to invest in the development of Canadian contributions in the form of advanced systems and scientific instruments as part of major international endeavours. To determine the nature of Canada’s potential contribution to future international space exploration, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) engages in three types of activities: (i) requirement development; (ii) prototyping and deployment; and (iii) building and maintaining operational infrastructure required to support prototype integration and deployment. Requirement development supports CSA’s exploration planning activities and defines the science and technology developments most likely to be required in future space exploration missions of interest to Canada, and assesses potential contributions that Canada could make to such mission.
The CSA is continuing its collaboration with international partners to define concepts for collaborative missions Beyond Low Earth Orbit (BLEO), as presented in the Global Exploration Roadmap (GER) (MRD-15). The goals are to expand International Partnerships (IPs), develop human exploration technologies and capabilities, synergize human and robotic capabilities, foster commercial industry and economic development, and advance scientific knowledge.
This Request For Proposal (RFP) provides a common gateway for the study of initial concepts for potential future Canadian BLEO space exploration opportunities in global partnerships to define a bold vision for Canada’s future in space. The Components Study (CS) proposals, which will be catered to topics identified in Table 1-1, and detailed in Appendix C, will allow Canada to take its place among the top innovators of space and allow Canadians to take full advantage of the benefits space has to offer. These areas may be considered for contribution to a potential exploration components Beyond LEO.
It is planned that up to two contracts will be awarded to provide an assessment of options and be used to refined the current concept and mission requirements and options and develop a preliminary business case for use by the Canadian Space Agency in future planning phases as per specified in Table 1-1.
The initial phases of any components focuses on concept definition and feasibility assessment studies. As it provides an opportunity for exploring truly innovative ideas, these studies are of high importance to the Canadian Space Agency in encouraging the growth and development of an internationally competitive Canadian space community and the advancement of new ideas.