Space exploration and infrastructure mission partner

World leading flight-tested robotics that fit any mission MDA Space has 40 years of mission-tested experience developing, supporting, and operating the iconic Canadarm technology for NASA’s space shuttles and International Space Station. Leveraging our unparalleled space robotics and services leadership, MDA Space is a trusted partner for a growing number of next generation missions. From new commercial robotics systems, space station operations and maintenance, and space station and rover solutions, to key mission enablers including proximity operations sensors, MDA Space is enabling exploration, science and commerce in Earth’s orbit, deep space, and on the surface of Moon and Mars.

Commercial robotics missions 

The confidence to reach further

To meet new and growing customer demand and applications for space-based infrastructure, MDA Space is defining the next generation of robotics with MDA SKYMAKER, a full suite of scalable and modular space robotics derived from peerless Canadarm technology. This includes establishing the MDA Space Robotics Centre of Excellence, with the world's first commercial mission control centre dedicated to commercial space robotics operations, ensuring a complete end-to-end solution to meet our customers’ needs.

As the world gears up for a sustained human presence on the Moon — and beyond — our space robotics and operations capabilities are ready to support our customers through cargo logistics, surface mobility, infrastructure construction and resource extraction and transport, helping to enable a sustainable and competitive space economy.

Space robotics missions: Canadarm3

Reaching beyond 

As mission partner for NASA’s Artemis program, we are developing the most advanced and capable smart space robotics system in the world — Canadarm3 — the third generation of this iconic robotics system. Equipped with artificial intelligence, machine learning, machine vision and advanced software, the highly autonomous Canadarm3 will operate on NASA’s Gateway lunar-orbiting outpost, performing mission-critical tasks with and without human intervention.

Lunar Dawn Mission

MDA Space is a member of the Lunar Dawn team that NASA selected to start development of a human-rated Moon rover, which is a key part of NASA’s Artemis mission.

We will be working with an impressive team of industry leaders – prime contractor Lunar Outpost principal partner Lockheed Martin Space and teammates General Motors and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company – to design and develop a next-generation off-road Lunar Terrain Vehicle for exploring, living and working on the Moon.

Our role will be to design the robust, versatile robotic arm and robotic interfaces that will enable the rover to transport and manipulate a variety of payloads. You can bet we’ll be bringing our decades of human spaceflight robotics expertise to the job.

Planetary missions: rovers and instruments

Enhanced robotics capabilities for exploring Moon, Mars and extra-terrestrial objects

MDA Space has a 15-year track record of providing complex, high-reliability, no-margin-for-error rover technology and prototypes – from science instruments that helped detect snow in the Martian atmosphere as part of the 2008 Phoenix lander mission, to technology that helped analyze soil samples as part of the Curiosity rover mission. 

Our robotics systems will also be part of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission, scheduled to launch in 2028, to investigate the environment and atmosphere on Mars in search of signs of past life. For this mission MDA Space is building the navigation cameras and the entire mobility system – wheels, chassis and drive train for the Rosalind Franklin rover.

As the allied nations and international industry partners establish a permanent human presence on the Moon, MDA Space is well-positioned to support a new phase of lunar development with our long-standing technology leadership, rover heritage, systems integration capabilities and complex program management expertise. 

Mission enablers: proximity operations sensors 

Space missions, whether human or autonomous, require sensors and vision systems to navigate and operate. MDA Space builds a range of sensor technologies that sense the surrounding environment and provide operators key information to accurately control robotics systems and spacecraft.

Our LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors are critical to rendezvous, docking, inspection and landing activities as part of on-orbit and planetary missions, supporting functions like navigation, mapping, and locating and detecting nearby objects. On the International Space Station, these sensors allow Canadarm2 to grab payloads accurately, and when combined with vision systems, they support increasingly autonomous operations.

OSIRIS-REx mission

We built the LiDAR instrument, on behalf of the Canadian Space Agency, for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sample return mission to asteroid Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) completed the world’s first 3D scan of an asteroid from an orbiting spacecraft, enabling precision site selection and the ‘touch-and-go’ maneuvre to collect samples for return to Earth. With three billion individual measurements taken, Bennu is now the most mapped celestial body in the solar system.