MDA Wins Contract to Support Robotic Arms on Space Station

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector. (Credit: NASA)

OTTAWA, March 26, 2020 (CSA PR) — Today, the Government of Canada issued a new contract to MDA for the continuing operations and maintenance of the Mobile Servicing System, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotics suite—comprised of Canadarm2Dextre and the Mobile Base System—on the International Space Station (ISS). The contract, worth $190 million, will enable MDA to provide essential engineering and logistics support over the next four years.

The ISS is a test bed and stepping stone to the Moon and Mars. This investment is an opportunity for the Canadian space sector to maintain its international leadership in space robotics as Canada prepares for the next chapter of space exploration, the Lunar Gateway—the cornerstone of Canada’s Space Strategy.

NASA Selects First Science Instruments to Send to Gateway

Gateway with Orion over the Moon (Credit: ESA/NASA/ATG Medialab)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected the first two scientific investigations to fly aboard the Gateway, an orbital outpost which will support Artemis lunar operations while demonstrating the technologies necessary to conduct a historic human mission to Mars. The instruments selected for Gateway will observe space weather and monitor the Sun’s radiation environment.

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An Astronaut’s Guide to Applying to Be An Astronaut

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is assisted out of the Soyuz MS-11 that returned her and crewmates Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency back to Earth on June 24, 2019, landing in a remote area near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, after 204 days aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

By Anne McClain
NASA Astronaut

About every four years, NASA accepts applications for a new class of astronauts. We in the astronaut office are thrilled and excited it is that time again! As someone who just went through this process a short seven years ago, I know how stressful it can be. It is hard to want something so badly for your whole life, to have a dream so magical that it has kept you up at night, then try to contain all that excitement while concisely describing your experiences and skills for complete strangers via an application form. So I wanted to share some thoughts for all those who find themselves in that position.

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CSA Awards Mission Control Contract to Develop Lunar Surface Autonomous Science Payload

Rover prototype during testing. (Credit: Mission Control Space Systems)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, FEBRUARY 25, 2020 (Mission Control Space Services PR) — Mission Control Space Services Inc. (Mission Control) is pleased to announce a contract awarded by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the development of a novel payload to advance lunar scientific exploration, the first contract to be awarded under the $150M CSA Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP).

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CSA Invests in Canadian Lunar Science and Technology

Moon (Credit: NASA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec, February 25, 2020 – Canada has joined humanity’s return to the Moon – an investment in science, innovation and research to unlock new opportunities for economic growth and to help us answer important questions about our planet, universe and ourselves.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is presenting Canada’s space community, including small and medium-sized businesses, with the opportunity to contribute technologies to national and international efforts of exploring the Moon. This is a crucial step in humanity’s quest to travel further in space, onwards to Mars.

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New CSA, NRC MOU to Strengthen Canadian Space R&D

OTTAWA (NRC PR) — From flying zero-gravity missions on earth to growing food in remote or harsh conditions to miniaturized lab-on-a-chip devices to monitor our astronauts’ health, research experts at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) continue to work together to advance space science. On February 17, 2020, both organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to continue to strengthen this collaboration for all future R&D and technology projects.

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Aethera’s RF Power Unit for VASIMR Engine Completes Tests in Texas

WEBSTER, Texas and Halifax, NS (Ad Astra Rocket Co. PR) – A new generation radio-frequency (RF) Power Processing Unit (PPU) for the VASIMR engine, built for Ad Astra Rocket Company by Aethera Technologies Ltd. of Canada, has completed a full-power test in vacuum at Ad Astra’s Texas facility near Houston. The test, conducted on January 20th, involved operating the unit in hard vacuum and thermal steady-state at its full power rating of 120 kW. As part of the test, the PPU was also subjected to the magnetic field of the VASIMR engine to verify that there is no magnetic effect on the PPU performance.

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Canada’s Newest Astronauts Complete Basic Training

Canadian astronaut recruits Joshua Kutryk Jennifer_Sidey. (Credit: CSA)

Longueuil, Quebec, January 10, 2020 (CSA PR) – Today, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronauts Jenni Sidey-Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk celebrated the end of their basic training, along with their NASA classmates, during a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Their class was the first to be supervised by a Canadian astronaut, Jeremy Hansen.

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NASA to Honor New Astronauts on Friday

A new class of astronauts will graduate basic training on Jan. 10, 2020. They will join the active astronaut corps, beginning careers in exploration that may take them to the International Space Station, on missions to the Moon under the Artemis program, or someday, Mars. The 2017 class includes (top row) Matthew Dominick of NASA, Kayla Barron of NASA, Warren Hoburg of NASA, and Joshua Kutryk of CSA, (middle row) Bob Hines of NASA, Frank Rubio of NASA, Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons of CSA, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, and Jessica Watkins of NASA, (bottom row) Raja Chari of NASA, Jonny Kim of NASA, Zena Cardman of NASA, and Loral O’Hara of NASA. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will honor the first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program at 10:30 a.m. EST Friday, Jan. 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After completing more than two years of basic training, these candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.

The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The new graduates also will be available for in-person and remote media interviews following the ceremony.

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OSIRIS-REx’s Canadian Instrument Mapped Nightingale Site on Bennu Asteroid

Video Caption: 2019-12-12 – The Nightingale site, located near asteroid Bennu’s north pole, was selected as the OSIRIS-REx mission final sample site.

These detailed views of the location (complete with boulders, craters and other geological features) are based on a series of measurements taken by the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter OLA, the Canadian laser instrument aboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

Image creation: Michael Daly, Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science, York University (Credits: NASA, University of Arizona, Canadian Space Agency, York University, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA)

Useful Links

Canada’s role in OSIRIS-REx: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellit…
The OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellit…

Find out more about this video: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/search/v…

New Canadian Studies Selected for ISS Research

David Saint-Jacques took ultrasound images of his blood vessels for Vascular Echo, a Canadian study led by Dr. Richard Hughson of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA)

Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) recently awarded funding to Canadian researchers to study the effects of space flight on the human body. The results of the studies could help support longer missions to more distant destinations like the Moon or Mars.

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CSA Strengthens Long-term Partnership with ESA

SEVILLE, Spain (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) took part in the Ministerial Council of the European Space Agency (ESA) on  November 27–28, 2019, in Seville, Spain. This high-level meeting is held every two to three years to make important decisions regarding Europe’s future space activities. Canada is the only non-European cooperating state of ESA.

Following broad consultations with Canada’s space sector, the CSA is investing approximately $60 million (€37.2 million) in the ESA  programmes that have been strategically selected as areas most likely to benefit Canadian industry: Earth observation, satellite communications, exploration and technology development.

These investments are aligned with the Space Strategy for Canada. Past investments in ESA have resulted in opportunities for Canadian companies worth almost three times the value of the initial contract.

Canada and ESA have been cooperating in space activities for over 40  years in order to provide Canadian organizations with access to European markets, and to foster collaboration in science. The partnership also provides Canada’s space sector with access to data from ESA missions and infrastructure. In June 2019, Canada renewed its treaty-level  agreement  with ESA until 2030.

Canadarm2 to Capture Dragon Cargo Ship as Canadian Science Continues

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector. (Credit: NASA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — On December 4, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will launch from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, destined for the International Space Station (ISS).

Three days later, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA’s Jessica Meir will use Canadarm2 to capture the unpiloted vehicle. Robotics flight controllers will then berth it to the Station, where it is expected to remain for about a month.

The resupply mission includes equipment for ongoing Canadian heart study Vascular Aging:

  • two glucose test kits, which help researchers measure insulin resistance in space; and
  • three Bio-Monitor smart shirts, part of an innovative Canadian-made system that simplifies scientific data collection by easily tracking astronaut vital signs in space.

The upcoming cosmic catch marks a return to more typical activities for the 17-metre-long robotic arm. During recent spacewalks to repair the  ISS‘s cosmic particle detector, Canadarm2 served as a support for Parmitano, who was anchored to Canadarm2’s foot restraint. Throughout the operations, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen guided the spacewalkers from the Mission Control Center in Houston.

Live coverage of Dragon’s launch will be available on NASA TV on  Dec. 4, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Rendezvous and capture operations will also be broadcast on December 7, starting at 4:30 a.m. ET.

PoSSUM Completes First Commercial Gravity-offset EVA Spacesuit Test at CSA

EVA suit test (Credit: Project PoSSUM)

Project PoSSUM scientist-astronaut candidates complete first gravity-offset tests of the Final Frontier Design EVA space suit prototype with the collaboration of the Canadian Space Agency.

MONTREAL (Project PoSSUM PR) – A team of sixteen Project PoSSUM citizen-scientists recently completed a series of gravity-offset tests and evaluations of an Extravehicular Activity (EVA) space suit prototype at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) headquarters near Montreal, Quebec. The space suit was developed by Final Frontier Design of Brooklyn, NY and these series of tests mark the first gravity-offset tests of a commercial EVA space suit, an essential step towards its certification.

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Astronauts Invite Educators, Young Canadians to Participate in Junior Astronauts Campaign

SAINT-HUBERT, Quebec (CSA PR) — Canadian Space Agency astronauts Jenni Sidey-Gibbons and David Saint-Jacques, along with grade 6 student Hannah, invite Canadian educators and youth in grades 6 to 9 to register to the Junior Astronauts campaign.

Young Canadians can test their skills and knowledge through the Canadian Space Agency’s Junior Astronauts campaign with online activities in science and technology, fitness and nutrition, and teamwork and communications.

Selected kids from across Canada will have the opportunity to come to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec for a week of training by astronauts, scientists and engineers.

Participating teachers, educators and youth group leaders will also have an opportunity to win a visit by an astronaut or space expert to their school or youth organization.