28.04.2014

MDA to Generate Robotic Concepts

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates has received two contracts from the Canadian Space Agency to define critical technologies and assess potential contributions that Canada could make to future space exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

MDA will assess application of Canadian robotic technologies to potential missions such as the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), subject of the recently announced Broad Agency Announcement issued by NASA, and the Deep-Space Habitat Mission at EML-2 (Earth-moon libration point 2) proposed in the Global Exploration Roadmap.

The ARM includes a robotic spacecraft rendezvous with a small near-Earth asteroid, capture it and redirect it to a safe orbit on the far side of the moon.   ARM will build on the capabilities and experience gained in low-Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station and develops the next set of technologies and skills required for deep space exploration.

The EML-2 Deep-Space Habitat Mission would establish a platform or staging area approximately 37,000 miles beyond the Moon that could serve as a servicing or fueling depot for future lunar and/or deep-space exploration missions.

Building on our robotics and automation heritage, MDA will generate robotic concepts to perform tasks such as capture of the asteroid, docking, extra-vehicular activity support, maintenance and inspection.   The robotic system will also perform robotic servicing of satellites in deep-space.  We will also derive a sensor suite that can be used for rendezvous and capture of the asteroid, 3-D surface mapping, and assisting with navigating it into an orbit around the moon.

"These are extremely exciting mission scenarios and we're pleased to support the Canadian Space Agency in deriving next generation technologies for space exploration and commercialization of space," said Craig Thornton, the general manager responsible for robotics and automation at MDA.

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General Dynamics Missions Systems - Canada