Exploration

The Company's space exploration technologies have more than 30 years of flight heritage, comprising solutions that span the range of exploration phases from orbital reconnaissance, to landing, and rover-based surface exploration.

Exomars2010lower PIA14760Phoenix_MET

As a mission prime contractor, the Company’s flight heritage and end-to-end system capabilities provide a solid foundation for new missions to explore the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and other bodies in the solar system. ​The Company works extensively with international industrial and academic partners to serve a wide range of government agencies, and supports a number of strategic partners for the generation of new commercial space missions ​and emerging opportunities in deep space exploration.

​The Company's solutions extend the reach and capabilities of space exploration by enabling access and manipulation of people, payloads, and sensors in challenging locations and hostile environments that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to carry out operations.

​The Company’s experience in autonomous robotic systems enables operation in distant locations where communication bandwidth is reduced or intermittent, while enhancing the time efficiency of operations.

 
ROVERS AND SUBSYSTEMS: mobility solutions for in-space applications
MESR LELR MSLself

​The Company’s expertise in designing mobility solutions for in-space applications expands beyond Low Earth Orbit to planetary exploration endeavours. ​The Company has led the design, manufacturing, and testing of prototype vehicles such as the Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR) and Mars Exploration Science Rover (MESR), deployed for analogue mission evaluation for lunar and Mars applications. The expertise gained through these projects led ​the Company to develop a unique suspension and locomotion solution for the 2018 European Space Agency ExoMars Mission. The ExoMars Rover, scheduled to be launched in 2018, will be equipped with ​the Company’s Bogie Electro Mechanical Actuator (BEMA) and Actuator Drive Electronics (ADE) systems, offering an efficient solution to meet the challenging requirements associated with surface mobility on the Martian terrain.  

The Company has also led the design, manufacturing, and testing of robotic arms for NASA-JPL Mars rovers and landers since 1997.
 
SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS: fully-integrated scientific instruments and sub-assemblies for a wide range of space exploration missions
MSL APXS​The Company’s system-level approach to product solutions has resulted in the development of fully-integrated scientific instruments for a wide range of space exploration missions. Most recently as part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, the ​Company-provided Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) is a rugged, compact instrument that has continued to deliver valuable chemical composition data from the surface of Mars since landing in 2012. ​The Company’s experience with laser-based sensors led to the development of the LiDAR instrument flown on the Phoenix Mars Lander to measure dust and ice particles in the Martian atmosphere, as well as a Laser Altimeter instrument on the upcoming OSIRIS-Rex mission for extracting surface topology data from the surface of an asteroid. The development and integration of mission-specific instruments is supported by ​the Company’s end-to-end experience in space system design and operations, bridging the scientific needs with engineering and mission requirements.

MLS APXS
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Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

 
MANIPULATORS: space and terrestrial systems for assembly and maintenance
MSL Robotic ArmAs a world leader in space manipulators, ​the Company is best known as the provider of the Canadarm, Canadarm2, and "Dextre" robotic systems to the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs. Since the 1980s, ​the Company has provided continuous engineering and mission support services to NASA and CSA, ensuring successful operation of mission critical tasks, ​including ISS robotic assembly and maintenance, and servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. Leveraging our experience in providing safe and reliable human-rated robotic systems, ​the Company developed another space robotic system for the DARPA Orbital Express mission that successfully demonstrated on-orbit servicing capabilities as autonomous capture and satellite reconfiguration. The Company has also developed robotic arms for NASA-JPL Mars rovers and landers since 1997, including MSL Curiosity. Going forward, ​the Company is advancing robotics and autonomous systems to support future exploration missions beyond the low-latency environment of near-earth operations.
 
SOFTWARE AND AVIONICS: system operations by both local tele-operations and via remote ground control
From the inaugural flight of the Canadarm to the on-orbit operations performed by the Space Station robotics today, ​the Company has provided the software and avionics required to safely and effectively operate those systems by both local crew tele-operations and via remote ground control. Leveraging our safety-critical control software that is uniquely flight qualified over 30 years, ​the Company has also developed a product line of electronics to offer robust and efficient control of articulated platforms on spacecraft and satellites. Our extensive background in mission assurance and safety requirements positions ​the Company as an ideal provider of electronic and software solutions for motion and/or sensor packages, with expertise in both radiation tolerant and low temperature electronics solutions as well as COTS development. Designing optimal solutions to customer-specific needs, ​the Company has developed all-in-one sensor packages and data processing devices for use in applications ranging from rendezvous and proximity operations to planetary surface characterization. Next-generation space systems will require resource-efficient solutions to support the needs of both government and commercial organizations, and ​the Company’s software and avionics capabilities are well suited to offer reliable products to meet these demands.
 
GUIDANCE, NAVIGATION AND CONTROL: precision motion control solutions for safety critical applications
The Company has a strong heritage of providing robust Guidance, Navigation and Control solutions to a variety of spaceflight systems. We offer precision motion control solutions, state machine development and sequencing logic design for a variety of safety-critical applications. The foundation of our technical expertise in these areas is based on the comprehensive dynamic modelling capabilities established while providing mission support services to the Canadarm and Space Station robotic programs. ​The Company brings leading-edge control system design capabilities, with widespread experience in developing analytic solutions to novel robotic topologies. Our enhanced vision systems and image processing capabilities have provided notable advances in robotic operation, enabling autonomous navigation in adaptable environments such as free flyer capture of on-orbit assets. Our unique test facilities can validate and fine tune such sophisticated solutions. Anticipating the future needs of in-space operations, ​the Company is currently developing next-generation autonomy capabilities to enable system operation in high latency, dynamic environments.

GNC

Pheonix MET
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Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

OSIRIS-REx Investigates Asteroid Bennu
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Credit: NASA Goddard

Curiosity Rover
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Credit: NASA