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MDA Once Again Partner with the Canadian Space Agency to Develop Canadarm3

By CIOReview | Wednesday, December 23, 2020

MDA partners with CSA to contribute world-leading Canadian technology and operational expertise to an international space exploration endeavor.

FREMONT, CA: MDA announces that it has been awarded a contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop Canadarm3, the third generation Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered robotic system destined for Gateway, a lunar-orbiting international space station. The contract has the award of Phase A of the Canadarm3 program, with choices for the follow-on phases.

As MDA's ambitious space exploration project yet, Canadarm3 will function aboard Gateway, a NASA-led deep space outpost that will orbit the Moon beginning in the mid-2020s, helping human and robotic missions to the lunar surface, serving as a science laboratory, and a proving ground for exploration missions into space. Canadarm3 will comprise the full robotics system, comprised of an eXploration Large Arm (XLA), and eXploration Dexterous Arm (XDA), specialized tools for performing maintenance and science tasks, and the ground control systems and AI-powered control and mission planning software.

Because of extremely limited communication with the ground due to the Gateway's location some 400,000 kilometers from Earth, Canadarm3 will be autonomous and will leverage its advanced AI-powered sensors and systems to securely perform operations without oversight and monitoring by the ground or on-board astronauts. The ground planning and control functions for the system will take place exclusively in Canada, in contrast to the last generation Canadarm and Canadarm2, also developed by MDA.

This initial Phase A of the Canadarm3 program will establish the technical demands needed for the future design and manufacturing of the robotic system. This phase will further evolve the concepts developed by MDA in Phase 0 and advance the readiness level of vital technologies.  MDA has also committed to producing a 'Value Proposition through the Government of Canada's Industrial and Technological Benefits policy that will streamline economic add ons to Canada from the Canadarm3 investment.