Canadian Space Agency’s Letter of Interest for Seven ‘Priority’ Technologies

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has published a Letter of Interest (LOI) for seven high-rank technologies the agency wants the aerospace industry to create as part of its Space Technology Development Program.

These technologies include enhanced wide-field astronomical imaging, exoplanet search, state-of-the-art planetary exploration tools, improvements in artificial aperture radar imaging, and the use of blockchain along with Earth observation data.

Below is a summary of the technology areas that the Letter of Interest mentioned.

Wide-Field Astronomical Imaging in UV/Optical – Critical Technologies

Learning the origin and development of the Universe, galaxies, stars, planets, and life itself is a major purpose of astronomy. Therefore, the concept for a wide field of view optical and UV space telescope was mentioned, mainly for the detection of dark energy.

The concept is referred to as CASTOR (Cosmological Advanced Survey Telescope for Optical and UV Research) and has been studied in 2012 for a 1-m class wide-field space telescope with a large focal plane array.

Enabling Technologies for the Search of New Worlds

The CSA has recently carried out studies for future possibilities in space astronomy. Two separate research has detected opportunities for a small mission that would focus on particular science of exoplanet transits.

The space company has also supported missions using the balloon project for testing optical or UV imaging and for adaptive optics for wavefront corrections with the aim of enabling exoplanet imaging. These concepts ask for more development, as well as testing prototypes to analyze the possibility, decrease technical risks, and enhance their TRL.

Mass and Volume Reduction for Planetary Exploration Instrument

The aim of this concept is to advance the technology state and decrease the cost for a new Canadian planetary instrument to include it to possible options for future planetary program opportunities.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) High-Speed On-Board Processing

The requirement for on-board processing (OBP) of information for space-based programs keeps increasing because of the rising quality of data being collected by satellites together with operational needs requesting a rapid response to gather data.

The benefits of OBP are particularly relevant to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite projects as they usually gather radar images at high data levels and need rather thorough processing before the data can be extracted. Therefore, the CSA proposed two types of future SAR missions: Earth observation missions, and interplanetary missions.

Novel Synthetic Aperture Radar Technologies for Low-Cost Wide Area Monitoring

There are a few trends in SAR technology that could most likely enhance the capacity to met the user needs. The first one is the use of much more compact SAR sensors that are able to supply the satellite with more restricted capacity at a lower cost.

A second trend identified in SAR is the advancement of the High-Resolution Wide Swath system that functions superiorly from more powerful satellites. Finally, the third trend includes the increased focus on the information versus the actual data.

Cloud-Computing for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Processing

This mission will provide researchers with a set of demonstrations of an online platform in order to ‘identify, access, process, manipulate and exploit Earth Observation (EO) data.’ These will showcase a modern pattern for connecting Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) data to its users, with the aim of identifying a business paradigm.

Block Chaining in Service of Earth Observation Big Data

This particular concept proposes to analyze new technologies in order to improve security and protect precious Earth Observation Synthetic Aperture Radar data. As per the LOI, the allocation of SAR data has to be controlled, and sensitive information must be hidden.

The deadline for responses is April 17th, and the full Letter of Interest can be found here.

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