Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), together with Steve MacLean, President of the CSA, celebrated Canada’s legacy in space by highlighting another milestone in CSA’s robotics work on rovers. These terrestrial rovers are bringing CSA one step closer to developing the next generation of rovers for space exploration. The rovers performed robotic demonstrations at the CSA’s analogue testing terrain, the largest of its kind in the world, which replicates the surface of the Moon or Mars.
“Canada’s reputation for excellence has been carved out through decades of innovation and technological advances such as the iconic Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre,” said Minister Paradis. “That legacy continues with the Next Generation Canadarm and these pioneer terrestrial rovers.”
The terrestrial rovers and scientific equipment unveiled today are the forerunners of vehicles and science instruments that may one day serve in exploring destinations like the Moon or Mars. They will be put to work in field tests to: help define the science and technology most likely to be required in future space exploration missions of interest to Canada; assess potential contributions to such missions; and refine the required technologies so they are sufficiently mature when opportunities arise.
“These model rovers are a stellar example of how our Government’s investments in space are strengthening Canadian S&T excellence, fostering industrial innovation and commercialization, and positioning Canada for continuing economic growth in the knowledge economy,” continued the Minister.
In 2009, Canada’s Economic Action Plan committed $110 million over three years for advance robotics and space exploration technologies, of which $60 million was allocated to the Exploration Surface Mobility project. These funds for the rovers project were invested in a total of 33 challenging high-technology projects to over 40 Canadian private sector companies and a dozen universities.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $8 billion in initiatives supporting science, technology and the growth of innovation firms in Canada, including $5 billion for advanced research, education and training; $2 billion for post-secondary infrastructure; and $1 billion for applied research and financing. This funding has helped to make Canada a world leader in post-secondary education research and to create the knowledge and highly skilled workforce that are required for a more prosperous economy.
Canadian Space Exploration Technologies for Surface Mobility
Space agencies around the world are discussing how to coordinate the next phases of the space exploration program. As an active partner in this endeavor, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is focusing its efforts on developing space science and technologies that serve national priorities and play a niche role in international missions, including the robotic and human exploration of the solar system, and advanced exploration technology development.
With over three decades operating the iconic Canadarm on the Space Shuttle, and Canadarm2 and Dextre on board the International Space Station (ISS), Canada has earned an enviable international reputation for excellence in advanced space robotics. In order to prepare Canada for the next steps in the international exploration of space, the CSA has worked in collaboration with over 40 organizations from Canada’s space industry and academia to design and build a fleet of terrestrial rovers that will serve as the forerunners of vehicles that may one day serve as proxies for exploring destinations like the Moon or Mars. Developing and testing prototypes and terrestrial rovers helps define the science and technology most likely to be required in future space exploration missions of interest to Canada, learn how to utilize the resources that may be present on site (e.g. extracting water from soil), assess potential contributions to such missions, and ensure that the technology is sufficiently mature when opportunities arise.
The following terrestrial rovers and their associated technologies are being used in a set of testing, demonstrations and deployment activities to assess and improve the developed technologies and ensure the mission objectives are achieved and refined. Canada’s Economic Action Plan announced in Budget 2009 provided $110 million over three years for advance robotics and space exploration technologies, of which $60 million was allocated to the Exploration Surface Mobility project. These funds were invested in a total of 33 challenging high-technology contracts to over 40 Canadian companies and a dozen universities.