One of NASA’s projects on the mission board is the lunar Gateway project. However, it seems that they won’t be working it alone. Canada has officially joined NASA in the lunar Gateway efforts. The country has committed to contributing financially to the project for the next 24 years, as well as providing a new robotic arm to be used on the missions.
The announcement came late in February when Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, announced that Canada would be contributing $2 billion in Canadian dollars in support of the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway program. While the details surrounding the program are still rolling in, the basic gist is that the program will create a manned facility that is being designed to orbit the moon.
The contribution is more than just financial, too. Canada will also be developing something called the Canadarm3—a robotic arm that will help maintain and perform necessary repairs on the Gateway. Trudeau commented on the joint venture and said that it’s a really great move for Canada. It will provide good jobs for Canadians and open up a lot of opportunities for Canadian space exploration.
A NASA representative also spoke about the historic partnership. They thanked the prime minister and went on to say that they hope many other countries will join NASA in the future as they pursue more space operations.
The robotic arm that Canada is developing will consist of both a large manipulating arm and a smaller arm designed for finer work. The robot will be critical to keeping the new space station up and running once it goes live. While the future missions of the robotic arm will no doubt be remarkable, the means by which the mission came this far are equally as remarkable. More than 500 different firms contributed to the robotics program, something that the government says is a true testament to the country’s commitment to the Lunar Gateway mission.
There is no set timeline for the Lunar Gateway, but you can bet that it will be big news once NASA and the Canadian government get rolling on the project.