Design Engineering

Maxar Technologies’ MDA to Design Lunar Rover Concept for Canadian Space Agency

Devin Jones   


Part of the engineering focus is the rover traveling up to 600 km over its lifetime in harsh lunar environments.

MDAThe Canadian Space Agency has selected MDA, a Maxar company, to provide a conceptual design of a lunar rover for science exploration and to prepare for human missions on the lunar surface.

As part of MDA’s concept, the rover would be engineered to travel up to 600 km over its lifetime in the harsh lunar environment via tele-robotic control and advanced autonomous mode, relying on artificial intelligence controlled from the proposed Lunar Gateway and from Earth.

“MDA’s innovative robotic solutions have been expanding our understanding of space since the 1980s, with the space shuttles’ Canadarms and the International Space Station’s Mobile Servicing System,” says Mike Greenley, group president of MDA.

In concept, the rover would carry out expeditions on the far side of the moon side of the moon near the South Pole region using a robotic arm and a sample capture system to collect samples, carrying a suite of science instruments up to 120 kg.


The rover then would return to its lander and deposit the samples into a small rocket known as an ascent vehicle that will carry them to the Gateway. The samples would later be returned to Earth for analysis to improve the understanding of the moon and the early formation of our solar system to prepare for an extended human presence beyond Low Earth Orbit.

The rover concept design forms part of a larger study that includes contributions from the European Space Agency, the Japanese Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, with the objective of preparing technologies and operations for landing astronauts on the surface as early as the late 2020s. In preparation for these landings, this study will define a plan to land the rover by the mid-2020 timeframe.

MDA is partnering with Canadian companies Magellan Aerospace, Mission Control Space Services Inc. and Deltion Innovations Ltd., for this study.


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