The CSA is Looking for Deep Space Exploration Robotics Interface Concepts

The Next Generation Small Canadarm (NGSC) is a robotic testbed designed for the testing of on-orbit servicing and related tasks. Credit: MDA/CSA.

The Canadian Space Agency issued a request for information (RFI) today for its Deep Space Exploration Robotics (DSXR) initiative.

The RFI covers two technology concepts for the Gateway External Robotics Interfaces (GERI);  Exploration Large Arm Interfaces and Exploration Dexterous Arm Interfaces.

Both technologies are part of the agency’s ongoing plan to fund initial concepts that could be further developed as part of Canada’s contribution to the NASA led Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway program should the government decide to participate. Canada’s commitment to the program could be announced in conjunction with the upcoming budget.

DSXR concept on the Deep Space Gateway
DSXR concept on the Deep Space Gateway. Credit: CSA.

The RFI statement of work provides the following summary;

In support of the Deep Space Gateway (DSG) program under development, the Canadian space Agency (CSA) is engaging with its International Partners (IPs), including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to provide the Extra-Vehicular Robotics (EVR) services to that lunar orbiting platform. While the entire DSXR segment on the DSG is not planned for the first few Gateway Missions (see AD-11 for the notional GM sequence), the connection points to the DSG are required for integration to DSG modules and elements starting at the first mission (GM-1). To support the advanced schedule on that aspect of the overall DSXR system, CSA has defined the Gateway External Robotics Interfaces (GERI) project to define, built, deliver and integrate the standardized connection points to the DSG that the DSXR will be based off of and operate from.

The GERI group of interfaces are to provide the critical components that interface with the eXploration Large Arm (XLA) and the eXploration Dexterous Arm (XDA) that represent the major robotic manipulator elements that form part of the broader DSXR concept. This document addresses the XLA interfaces.

Preliminary concept of DSXR elements with interfaces
Preliminary concept of DSXR elements with interfaces. Credit: CSA.

According to the CSA “the prime objective of this RFI is to obtain information that will assist PWGSC and the CSA in refining the subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP) that will be issued by PWGSC to contract for such Phase A work. The current intent is to award two separate contracts: one contract for the concept development of the ‘large arm’ interface and a second contract for the concept development of the Dexterous or ‘small arm’ interface.”

A future request for proposals for Phase A work is planned to be released in the Q2 of 2019.

The RFI closing date is February 27.

Update: The Canadian Space Agency has changed the closing date from Feb. 22 to Feb. 27, 2019.

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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