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Canadian Space Agency Releases Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program Opportunity

An artist’s concept of Canadarm3, Canada’s smart robotic system, located on the exterior of the Gateway, a small space station in orbit around the Moon. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has issued an industrial capacity-building contribution announcement of opportunity (AO) for the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), as reported by Space Q.

This AO comes after the CSA asked for additional input in January for an upcoming “commercial lunar opportunity.”

The objective of the AO is to “position Canadian technologies in the lunar mission supply chain by 2024” and is part of the new space strategy announced last February. The LEAP program is already funded at CAD$150 million (US$112 million) over five years.

The industrial capacity-building contribution AO is capped at CAD$13 million (US$9.7 million) with the maximum amount of funding per project set at $2 million (US$1.5 million), though with an extension that amount could reach CAD$4 million (US$3 million).

The AO will be in the form of non-repayable contributions and is in line with the “CSA Class Grant and Contribution (G&C) Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology – Research Component.”

Letters of intent are due by 20 March 2020 with the AO deadline set at 31 March 2020.

Companies likely looking to take advantage of this opportunity include ABB Canada, Canadensys Aerospace, Mission Control Space Service, Moon Express and others.

The Moon as a destination for further scientific study has been ongoing. However, it is now also seen as a waypoint to test new technologies for the human exploration of other planetary bodies in our solar system along with establishing early commercial opportunities beyond low Earth orbit.

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