May 26, 2021 – Longueuil, Quebec As we plan for humanity’s return to the Moon, there is great potential for Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to advance lunar science and technology. Canadians will play an important role in the highly competitive and innovative global supply chain of the expanding new space economy according to François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry who announced on Wednesday investments of $3 million in technology initiatives for lunar exploration through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Science Minister François-Philippe Champagne says Canada plans to land a rover on the moon in the next five years.
The Canadian Space Agency says the unmanned robotic vehicle will aim to gather imagery and measurements on the moon’s cratered surface, showcasing technologies from Canadian companies in a polar region of the earth’s only natural satellite.
Conducted in partnership with NASA, the mission hopes to have the rover make it through an entire lunar night, which lasts about two weeks and presents major technological challenges due to the extreme cold and dark.
Lisa Campbell, president of the space agency, says it will put out a request for proposals on design and development from two companies in the coming months.
The Canadian Space Agency will be supporting scientists in Canadian universities to advance their understanding of the lunar surface.In partnership with NASA, a Canadian rover will land on the Moon within the next five years. As a first step, the CSA will select two Canadian companies to develop concepts for the rover and science instrument(s) for this mission.
Minister Champagne highlighted the latest support and opportunities provided under the CSA’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program, to expand and prepare Canadian entrepreneurs and scientists to take part in lunar exploration, including:
- Mission Control Space Services is receiving $3-million to test cutting-edge technology in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface, with a mission currently planned for 2022.
- Two other Canadian companies, Canadensys Aerospace Corporation and NGC Aerospace Ltd. will also demonstrate advanced technologies during a lunar mission.
The Minister highlighted the government’s commitment that Canada remains a leading spacefaring nation. In 2019, the government announced Canada would build Canadarm3 for the Lunar Gateway and fund the development and demonstration of lunar science and technologies in fields that include AI, robotics and health. In return for its contribution to the Gateway initiative, Canada secured two future crewed flight opportunities in deep space. This includes a flight to the Moon as part of the historic Artemis II mission.
Champagne also noted that, since early 2020, the government has invested $36.5 million to prepare for future mission opportunities, including
- $4.4 million to advance technology for nano- and micro-rovers, as well as autonomous science instruments.
- $2.9 million to develop Canadian lunar science instruments.
- $3.3 million to test technology in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface.
- $22.8 million to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to establish the technical requirements to build Canadarm3.
- $3.1 million to support the development of technologies targeting the lunar economy and looking to be included into lunar mission supply chains, by April 2024.
- Launched in 2019, Canada’s space strategy established space as a strategic national asset. It set out to position Canada’s space sector to seize the opportunities of the future, and thrive in Canada and abroad.
- The Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program is providing $150 million over five years to help firms develop and demonstrate space technologies that will create new commercial opportunities in Canada linked to our participation in the Lunar Gateway mission.
- The global space market is expected to triple over the next 20 years to $1.1 trillion. Today, Canada has about a 1.3 percent share of this global market.
- Every year, Canada’s space sector contributes 21,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and $2.5 billion to Canada’s economy. 94% of companies in Canada’s space sector are SMEs.
- Canada’s participation in space science and exploration has benefitted Canadians on Earth, from the development of new medical technologies to the strengthening of our tech industry and our economy.
- With the application of the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, Canadarm3 is estimated to contribute up to $135 million annually to Canada’s GDP and create and maintain some 1,300 high-quality jobs for Canadians over an estimated 6-year build period.
- A Canadian will be part of the Artemis II mission, the first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972.