CSA awards second luner rover contract
Ottawa's Neptec signs $11.5 million contract to develop the Lunar Exploration Light Rover prototype
OTTAWA – In addition to the MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) contract announced last week, the Canadian Space Agency announced a seperate $11.5 million contract with Neptec Design Group to develop its Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR). According to the company, the Neptec Rover Team’s design will facilitate surface transportation for payloads, cargo and crew during moon exploration. In addition, it will also enable drilling and excavation, manipulator and tool integration, and vision and communications systems.
Led by Neptec, the NRT team is made up of Ontario Drive and Gear Ltd., COM DEV Canada, McGill University, Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc. and NGC Aerospace. Together, NRT will bring several innovations to the LELR prototype, including the use of a eight-wheeled, skid-steer locomotion system, to ensure safe navigation of the moon’s rugged, steep slopes.
On November 18, the CSA also awarded MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. an $11.5 million contract to design, development, build and test two next-generation lunar rover prototypes. The company says these prototypes will be integrated with a number of other Canadian technologies currently being developed under separate contracts, and collectively tested in an integrated field deployment at the end of 2012.
According to a spokesperson from the Canadian Space Agencies, the program will run until December 30, 2012, at which point both prototypes will perform extensive field testing in lunar analogue test sites.