An Ontario company was awarded $43 million to build Canada’s first lunar rover. The rover is scheduled to search the Moon’s south polar region for water ice in the soil in 2026.
Canadensys Aerospace, which is based in Bolton, Ontario, beat the only other competitor for the project, MDA of Brampton — also based in Ontario. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) recently awarded MDA a contract to develop the Canadarm3 for Lunar Gateway.
“Canadensys and our team members have been hard at work for the past decade, developing many of the key component technologies for lunar rovers,” said Christian Sallaberger, president and CEO at Canadensys, in a statement.
The 30 kilogram rover will carry six scientific instruments to accomplish its mission; five will be Canadian and one will be American. The rover will be designed to operate on parts of the Moon that have never seen direct sunlight. This includes lunar nights, which can last as long as 14 days and drop to less than -200 C.
The rover’s operations will be controlled in Canada. Canadian and American scientists will have access to scientific data collected during the mission.
“Designing a rover that can withstand the harsh lunar environment is extremely complex, but today is proof that Canada’s space industry thrives on challenges and is ready to exceed expectations,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in a statement that announced the contract to Canadensys.
The program is part of the CSA’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), which launched in 2019. LEAP is providing $150 million to help Canadian companies develop space technologies that will create commercial opportunities in Canada.