CSA, Virgin Galactic Sign MOU on Microgravity Flights, Spaceflight Participants

SpaceShipTwo cabin interior. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

LONGUEUIL, Que. (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virgin Galactic today, heralding the beginning of a collaborative relationship between the two  organizations.

The purpose of this collaboration is to explore the possibilities of using the Virgin Galactic Spaceflight System (VSS), which offers suborbital microgravity flights, for future CSA payloads and spaceflight participants. It also aims to facilitate the exchange of information on collaboration opportunities between Virgin Galactic, the CSA, and the Canadian space industry and academia.

Virgin Galactic and the CSA will begin by discussing the capabilities of the VSS and related Virgin Galactic services. The two organizations will also look at creating opportunities to consult with Canadian industry and potential users of the VSS.

This agreement will support the CSA’s objective to be Canada’s leader in capability demonstration by providing the space industry, universities and other government departments with access to platforms, demonstration opportunities and unique expertise.

Celebrating 20 years of Human Research on the International Space Station

Expedition 1 crew in December 2000 about to eat oranges in the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. From left cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko NASA astronaut William Shepherd and cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. Expedition 1 was the first crew to live on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As the world celebrates two decades of humans in orbit around Earth on the International Space Station, this month’s science summary will look back not at four weeks of European research in space, but 20 years – with a focus on human research, naturally.

In November 2000 the first human entered the two-module International Space Station and ESA ran its first experiment just three months later.

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Two Canadian Technologies are Going to the Moon

The Moon seen from the International Space Station. The image was taken by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli during his second mission to ‘MagISStra’ on 20 March 2011. Paolo commented on the image: “Supermoon was spectacular from here!” (Credit: ESA/NASA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is helping prepare Canada’s space industry for future missions to the Moon. The CSA is awarding $3.3 million in contributions to support the demonstration of two lunar technology payloads and their launch to the Moon.

This is the first time Canada will conduct a technology demonstration in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface. It represents a significant step in Canada’s participation in the next chapter of Moon exploration.

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Canadian Space Agency Launches Public Consultation on Framework for Future Space Exploration Activities

LONGEUEIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working with national and international partners to write the next chapter of space exploration—sending humans to more distant destinations like the Moon and Mars.

These daring missions and emerging space activities pose new challenges. Canada and other countries are working to define the “rules of the road,” a shared framework that will guide the safe and sustainable use of space beyond Earth’s orbit.

Canada will continue its leadership in space by pushing the boundaries of science and technology. Our future space exploration activities will increase our knowledge of our planet and universe and advance research and discoveries that lead to breakthrough science in areas that benefit people on Earth.

All Canadians are invited to share their vision for our future in space.

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NASA Johnson Builds Labs to Study New Asteroid Samples, Cosmic Mysteries

A rendering of the new asteroid lab being built at Johnson Space Center. When the samples are returned to Earth in 2023 they will be brought to this lab for curation and initial examination. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — When the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touches asteroid Bennu, it will capture NASA’s first sample from an asteroid and provide rare specimens for research that scientists hope will help them shed light on the many mysteries of our solar system’s formation.

The sample is scheduled for return to Earth in 2023 to be examined and stored in state-of-the-art curation facilities now under construction at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The labs will be managed by NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science division, also known as ARES. The division is home to the world’s greatest astromaterials collections — including lunar rocks, solar wind particles, meteorites, and comet samples — and some of the experts who research them.

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ESA Selects Thales Alenia Space to Build Two Modules for Lunar Gateway

(Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

Turin, October, 14 2020 – Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), will develop two key modules for the upcoming Lunar Orbital Platform–Gateway (LOP-G): I-HAB (International Habitat) and the ESPRIT communications and refueling module.

These two modules are the European contribution for this Gateway. The first tranche of I-HAB contract, (worth 36 million euros, the global amount being 327 million euros), has been signed with the European Space Agency (ESA), while ESPRIT development has already started under Authorization To Proceed (ATP) with a contract signature expected by the end of the year.

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Canadian Space Agency Signs Artemis Accords

Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of Canada. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

LONGUEIUL, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working with national and international partners to write the next chapter of space exploration—sending humans to more distant destinations like the Moon and Mars.

Today, the CSA proudly joined other space agencies – NASA, the Australian Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Luxembourg Space Agency, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, and the UK Space Agency – in signing the Artemis Accords. This commitment is an important first step towards ensuring safe and sustainable exploration beyond Earth’s orbit.

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Canadian Instrument on OSIRIS-REx Took Most Detailed 3D Measurements of Any Celestial Body Ever Explored

An OLA scan that was taken over 5.5 minutes and contains 3,342,748 measurements. Shadows are in areas that were not visible from the perspective of OLA. (Credit: NASA/University of Arizona/Canadian Space Agency/York University/MDA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — In a detailed study published today, Canadian scientist  Michael Daly (York University) and his team revealed that the data gathered by Canadian OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) enabled new insights into near-Earth asteroid Bennu. The paper is part of a special collection on Bennu appearing today in Science and Science Advances.

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Cosmic Catch for Canadarm2 as Cygnus Carries Canadian Cargo to the International Space Station

The U.S. Cygnus space freighter is pictured as the Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Jessica Meir with fellow Flight Engineer Christina Koch as her back up, reaches out to grapple the 12th resupply ship from Northrop Grumman on November 4, 2019. (Credits: NASA)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (CSA PR) — On September 29, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship will blast off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, headed for the  International Space Station (ISS) – the orbiting science lab that has been continuously inhabited for nearly two decades.

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Canada Appoints New CSA President

Lisa Campbell

OTTAWA (Government of Canada PR) — Today, the Government of Canada announced that it has appointed Lisa Campbell as President of the Canadian Space Agency. Ms. Campbell replaces Sylvain Laporte, who has been President of the agency since 2015.

Ms. Campbell’s career has largely been in service to Canadians. She comes to the post from a position as Associate Deputy Minister, Veterans Affairs Canada. Previously, she was Assistant Deputy Minister, Defence and Marine Procurement, leading the organization procuring Canada’s military and marine equipment.

She has led large, multi-disciplinary teams across government, involving some of the most complex files, and has a strong track record of engaging with diverse stakeholder communities. Ms. Campbell also worked at Canada’s competition authority as Senior Deputy Commissioner, reviewing mergers and business conduct.

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Honeywell Selects Loft Orbital to Provide the Launch & Satellite Bus for Quantum Key Distribution Mission

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, August 4, 2020 — Loft Orbital Solutions Inc (Loft Orbital) has signed a contract with Honeywell to provide launch service and satellite bus for the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) mission, for which Honeywell is the prime contractor.

The QEYSSat mission will demonstrate Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), a groundbreaking technology that has the potential to revolutionize encrypted communications. To date, the first and only space-based QKD demonstration has been performed by the Chinese Micius spacecraft in 2017.

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NASA to Provide Update on James Webb Space Telescope

Following the complete assembly of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, testing teams performed a comprehensive systems evaluation which allowed them to confidently assess Webb’s software and electronic performance as a single fully connected vehicle. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 16, to provide an update on the status of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s next premier infrared space observatory and the largest, most complex space telescope for astronomy ever built. 

The media teleconference audio will stream live at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Participants in the teleconference include: 

  • Stephen Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator 
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator 
  • Gregory Robinson, NASA Webb program director 
  • Eric Smith, NASA Webb program scientist 

Once deployed, Webb will help solve mysteries in our solar system and look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, as well as probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. 

For more information on Webb, go to: 

https://www.nasa.gov/webb

CSA Awards Additional Space Technology Development Contracts

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded an additional 10 contracts worth nearly CAD $4.49 million (US $3.3 million) to eight companies under its Space Technology Development Program (STDP).

The awards were in addition to 14 STDP contracts worth just over CAD $9 million (US $6.6 million) the space agency awarded to eight companies last month.

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CSA Awards CAD $9 Million for Technology Development

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded 14 contracts worth just over CAD $9 million (US $6.6 million) to eight companies under its Space Technology Development Program (STDP).

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) received a total of six contracts worth CAD $3.5 million (US $2.6 million). COM DEV of Cambridge, Ont., received a pair of contracts worth nearly CAD $1.6 million (US $1.1 million). And UrtheCast of Vancouver received a contract worth $999,916 (US $736,131).

“As part of a competitive process, proposals are selected based on the applicant’s (mainly industry) capacity to advance the development of specific space technologies for which they receive financial support of up to 75% of their project cost,” CSA said on its website.

The space agency plans to award additional contracts under the STDP. Details of the awards are below.

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Canadarm, Canadarm2, and Canadarm3 – A Comparative Table

Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Canadarm3. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA)

Canadian Space Agency Fact Sheet

Canadarm
The first Canadian robotic arm to go to space
Canadarm2
Servicing the International Space Station since 2001
Canadarm3Footnote1
An artificial intelligence-based robotic system designed for the Lunar Gateway
LocationInstalled on each Space Shuttle and returned to Earth. Now retired, the Canadarm is on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.Stays permanently in space on board the International Space Station.Will stay permanently in space on board the Lunar Gateway.
Range of motionReach limited to length of arm.Moves end-over-end to reach many parts of the International Space Station, where its anchoring “hand” plugs into a power, data, and video outlet. Because it is mounted on the Mobile Base, the arm can travel the entire length of the Space Station.Will move end-over-end to reach many parts of the Lunar Gateway, where its anchoring “hand” will plug into a power, data, and video outlet. The arm will be able to travel and bring tools to the entire length of the Lunar Gateway.
Fixed jointFixed to the shuttle by one end.No fixed end.No fixed end.
Degrees of freedomSix degrees of freedom. Similar to a human arm: Two joints in the shoulder One joint in the elbow Three joints in the wristSeven degrees of freedom. Very similar to a human arm: Three joints in the shoulderOne joint in the elbow Three joints in the wristSeven degrees of freedom. Very similar to a human arm: Three joints in the shoulder One joint in the elbow Three joints in the wrist
Joint rotationElbow rotation limited to 160 degrees.Each of Canadarm2’s joints rotate 270 degrees in each direction, a total of 540 degrees. This range of motion is greater than that of a human arm.Each joint will be able to rotate almost 360 degrees.
SensesNo sense of touch.Force-moment sensors provide a sense of “touch”. Automatic collision avoidance.Force-moment sensors provide a sense of “touch”. Automatic collision avoidance. 3D Vision Sensor Tool that maps objects around it.
Length15 m17 m8.5 m
Mass410 kg1,497 kg715 kg (estimation)
Diameter33 cm (exterior diameter of composite boom)35 cm (exterior diameter of composite boom)23 cm (exterior diameter of composite boom)
Speed of operationUnloaded: 60 cm/s Loaded: 6 cm/sUnloaded: 37 cm/s Loaded: 2 cm/s (during ground control) 15 cm/s (support during spacewalks)Unloaded: 10 cm/s Loaded: to be determined
Composition16 layers of high-modulus carbon fibre epoxy19 layers of high-strength carbon fibre thermoplasticCarbon fibre composite.
RepairsRepaired on Earth.Designed to be repaired in space. Composed of removable sections that can be individually replaced in space.Designed to self-detach sections that can be repaired inside the Lunar Gateway.
ControlControlled by astronauts on the Space Shuttle.Controlled from the ground or by astronauts on the International Space Station.Primarily controlled autonomously. Can also be controlled from the ground or by astronauts on the Lunar Gateway.
CamerasTwo cameras: One on the elbowOne on the wristFour colour cameras:One on each side of the elbow The other two on the “hands”Six colour 4K cameras: One 360-degree camera on each side of the elbow One on each boom on swivel mounts The other two on the “hands”
OperatorUnited StatesCanada and United StatesCanada