The CSA is Interested in Hosting a Sub-surface Ice Sounder on NASA's NeMO Orbiter

The Canadian Space Agency issued a request for proposals (RFP) today with the aim of determining the feasibility of a sub-surface ice sounder as a hosted payload on NASA’s Next Mars Orbiter (NeMO) which is a concept mission that could be headed to Mars in 2022.

Earlier this year NASA held an industry day to talk about this conceptual mission. NASA Watch obtained a copy of the presentation in PDF format and it is available below.

According to the presentation the “Next Mars Orbiter will be capable of continuing and extending that infrastructure and refreshing the critical capabilities necessary to continue exploration of the Mars system and support future mission needs.

The orbiter would:

  • Support increased bandwidth communications
  • Continue high resolution surface reconnaissance
  • Provide significant orbital flexibility for long term support of future missions
  • *Accommodate potential compelling investigations
  • *Validate challenging technologies for advanced communications
  • *Orbital Support for potential Sample Return

* Potential Objectives under consideration

According to the CSA RFP, proposals will have the following objectives:

  • Starting from the initial concept provided by CSA and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), define down to main sub-system level a NeMO-compatible payload meeting the observation
  • Develop a science observation plan and operation concept compatible with NeMO capabilities.
  • Develop a mission development plan for a launch in 2022, using as much as possible subsystems with high Technology Readiness Level (TRL).
  • Assess options for enhanced mission objectives and reuse of the payload for Earth Observation applications.
  • The proposed contract is for a six (6) months period and may be extended by a period of up to seven (7) months to perform optional work.

Download the RFP.

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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