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BRP expands its market out of this world

Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) is taking its recreational motorized vehicle know-how to the Moon and Mars.


April 7, 2011
by PLANT STAFF

VALCOURT, Que.: Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) is taking its recreational motorized vehicle know-how to the Moon and Mars.

The Valcourt, Que. manufacturer of Ski-Doos and Can-Am all-terrain vehicles is working with the Centre de technologies avancées BRP-Université de Sherbrooke (CTA) to develop the chassis and locomotion systems for a Lunar Exploration Light Rover and a Mars Exploration Science Rover.

BRP was awarded $5.6 million in contracts by MacDonald Dettwiler and Associated Ltd. (MDA) after receiving a two-contract mandate from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the design, development, construction and testing of advanced space vehicles under the CSA’s Exploration Surface Mobility Program.

BRP said the terrestrial prototypes will be constructed from advanced aluminum alloys with electric propulsion systems powered by battery in the moon vehicle and solar energy for the Mars rover, but they’ll also be capable of integrating hydrogen fuel cells. The prototypes will also target performance improvements of existing Martian and lunar exploration vehicles in terms of speed, range and size.

Three base vehicles will be developed and built at the CTA, a private-public partnership between BRP and Sherbrooke University, before delivery to MDA for integration with a range of smart sensors and payloads.

“The CTA’s team is used to thinking outside the box,” said Mihai Rasidescu, president and general manager of the CTA. “We are developing systems that may eventually need to function in the most remote and hostile environments with extreme variations in temperature, reduced gravity, and of course, the inability of the locomotion system to be serviced once in use. That’s definitely outside the box.”

CTA’s mandate is to develop cutting-edge technologies in the field of motorized recreational vehicles. Since it opened in 2006, the CTA has developed two technologies that have been integrated into BRP products and is currently developing a hybrid version of the Can-Am Spyder roadster.

It employs more than 70 researchers and students.