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Canadian Space Agency Awards Asteroid Map Contract

Instrument Will Perform Surface Mapping Operations On NASA OSIRIS-REx Mission

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded a contract to information services company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) for the preliminary design of an advanced technology solution for NASA's New Frontiers Program—OSIRIS-REx, the next planetary science mission to another celestial body in our solar system.  The contract is valued at $15.4 million (USD). The total contract value for initial phases received to-date are valued at $18.54 million.

NASA plans to launch a spacecraft in 2016 to study and return an asteroid sample to Earth in 2023. As the spacecraft comes within seven kilometers of the asteroid, MDA's solution will be used to perform comprehensive surface mapping operations that provide topographical maps that will assist in navigating the spacecraft towards the asteroid and identifying potential sample acquisition sites.

This contract builds on MDA's heritage of flight-proven science instruments that have contributed to helping to revolutionize our understanding of the early Solar system, planet formation and the origin of life. MDA announced in June 2010 it was on candidate teams selected by NASA to conduct initial studies for a deep space exploration mission.

The CSA is supporting a Canadian Science team and the development of the science instrument for the Mission.

FMI: www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng

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