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Physics of the Cosmos News

NASA-funded Scientific Payload for CSA Lunar Rover Community Announcement

14 May 2021

The Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office (ESSIO) of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) announces an upcoming opportunity for interested U.S. investigators to provide a U.S. scientific payload to be integrated onto a Canadian lunar rover. Proposal teams will be led by Canadian companies and submitted proposals will be evaluated and selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), with NASA participation. The rover, carrying one Canadian science payload and one U.S. science payload, will be delivered by a NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) provider to the lunar surface in 2025. The U.S. and Canadian instruments shall share a combined payload mass of 6.0 kg, and NASA seeks to maximize science return within this limit. It is anticipated that the opportunity to provide a U.S. instrument as part of a rover team proposal, led by a Canadian company, will be solicited by CSA in late May 2021. Canadian rover teams preparing to submit proposals may reach out to U.S. institutions to gauge interest in providing an instrument for consideration.

How to Apply:

U.S. scientific payload developers interested in collaborating on this opportunity shall join one (or more) Canadian proposal team(s), and each team will include a Canadian rover provider and a Canadian scientific payload in addition to the U.S. payload. CSA will lead a panel, with participation by NASA SMD representatives, to evaluate and select two proposals for Phase A studies. Down-selection to a single rover/payload team will be made at the conclusion of the ~6 month Phase A study. CSA will fund the Canadian rover and scientific payload, and NASA ESSIO will fund the U.S. payload, with a funding cap on the U.S. payload of $5M U.S., including the Phase A study.

There are two ways U.S. scientific payload developers can indicate interest:

  • U.S. institutions that have an interest in providing a U.S. scientific payload for consideration have the option of adding their information to the List of Interested Suppliers (this link will be closing on 20 May 2021; however, a similar link will be made available with the bid solicitation once issued).
  • U.S. scientific payload developers are encouraged to reach out to relevant Canadian spacecraft companies and/or academia. Details of existing Canadian rovers and the companies that developed them can be found here. Additional information on Canadian spacecraft companies, including points of contact, can be found in the “Satellite, Satellite Systems & Components” list of hyperlinks.
For some examples of Canadian lunar payload concept studies that have been awarded by CSA, see this list of contracts awarded in 2020. U.S. payload developers are encouraged to coordinate with Canadian counterparts to ensure that any given proposal team includes complementary U.S. and Canadian scientific payloads. Approval of the NASA U.S. scientific payload is contingent upon enactment of official agreements between NASA and CSA. Further information regarding this CSA opportunity is included in CSA’s Letter of Interest. Please direct questions regarding this opportunity to Debra Hurwitz at debra.m.hurwitz@nasa.gov and Zachary Pirtle at zpirtle@nasa.gov.

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