Special Coverage

The Canadian Space Agency Wants Additional Input for an Upcoming Commercial Lunar Opportunity

Designed as a workhorse that can deliver 150kg to low lunar orbit from low Earth orbit, with a range of configurationsto support lunar landing and cis-lunar operations, the MX-5 can also be outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems that can bring the entire solar system within reach with Discovery Class capabilities. Credit: Moon Express.

For those companies in Canada who have yearned to be a part of a future “lunar economy”, the Canadian Space Agency Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program is about to provide you with the financial mechanism to kickstart your efforts.

Yesterday, the Canadian Space Agency posted notice on their website of an expected upcoming Announcement of Opportunity for the Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program which will see contracts of $2 million awarded those companies that qualify. These projects are intended to take 18 months to complete. There is a however a second step to the program that would allow companies to request an additional $2 million after the initial contract period and which would last up to no later than March 31, 2024.

The maximum funding per project is $4 million and it is expected $14 million will be allocated to this opportunity of the Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program.

The funding is part of the commitment made last February when the government announced that Canada was going to the moon. The Lunar Exploration Acceleration Program was then provided $150M over five years starting in the Canadian Space Agency’s 2019-20 fiscal year.

The specific goal of yesterday’s notice is to;

  • To inform the space industry of the planned posting date and content of this AO (Announcement of Opportunity);
  • To enable the space industry to comment on the described AO;
  • To give the space industry the time to consider collaborations or partnerships with other firms, universities or research centres (not mandatory but encouraged).

Comments and suggestions must be submitted to the Canadian Space Agency by February 7, 2020.

Eligible projects and description of the upcoming AO

The following is from the CSA notice;

The CSA’s LEAP technology development AO aims to support the basic research and development of technologies that demonstrate strong potential of entering the lunar missions supply chain.

To be eligible for funding, applicants will be required to identify the lunar mission supply chain related opportunities in which the technology has potential of being integrated. The applicants will also have to demonstrate the potential interest in the technology from the actors in the lunar mission community.

Only technologies targeted at integrating the lunar mission supply chains are eligible. Eligible projects do not include the development of space related medical technologies as they will be supported through other funding opportunities.

As is the case with these types of notices, the CSA is not making a formal commitment that the AO will happen. However, should the AO go forward, it is expected to be announced later in February or March.

About Marc Boucher

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 Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.