Canadian technologies on their way to Moon

Canadian Space Agency

Countries from around the world are getting ready to go back to the Moon, and Canada is playing a major part in this inspiring new endeavour. This morning at 2:38 a.m. ET, two Canadian technologies launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, onboard the Japanese ispace Mission 1 to the Moon. Canadensys Aerospace Corporation (Canadensys) and Mission Control will test their cutting-edge technologies during this commercial mission, set to land on the Moon in spring 2023.

Canadensys is providing an AI-enabled operational lunar 360-degree imaging system, including multiple cameras, which was designed to withstand the harsh lunar environment. Among other tasks, the system will be used to image two rovers (one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the other from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in the United Arab Emirates) as they are deployed from opposite sides of the ispace lander. Mission Control will demonstrate an artificial intelligence-integrated flight computer to classify types of geological features as a rover drives around the lunar surface. Traditionally, such analysis would be performed on Earth. This computer could unlock new possibilities for rovers to perform actions by themselves, such as navigation and classification of lunar geological features.

A third company, NGC Aerospace Ltd., will receive lunar imagery from this mission to test their planetary navigation system, similar to the GPS technology used on Earth. They will use the imagery obtained from this mission in preparation for a future mission where the technology will guide and support the safe landing of a lunar vehicle, in a precise location.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) funded these three projects under the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). With this funding, the companies will have seven different opportunities to test their technologies on or around the Moon in the upcoming years.

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