Neptec lands $11.5M lunar Rover project

The Neptec Design Group has won a $11.5 million contract with the Canadian Space Agency to develop the new Lunar Exploration Light Rover.

November 23, 2010   by PLANT STAFF

Neptec’s lunar NRT Rover concept under development for the Canadian Space Agency.

Photo: Neptec Design Group

OTTAWA: Neptec Design Group, a designer of space, defence and industrial systems and applications, has won a $11.5 million contract with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop the new Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR).

Mike Kearns, Neptec’s vice-president of space exploration, said the LELR will provide the space agency with a surface mobility platform it can use to develop the technology and expertise necessary to deploy such a vehicle on the moon.


“The innovative design of this new Canadian rover will facilitate surface transportation for payloads, cargo and crew during moon exploration,” said Kearns. “It will also enable drilling and excavation, manipulator and tool integration, and vision and state-of-the-art communications systems.”

The Neptec Rover Team (NRT) includes:

• Ontario Drive and Gear Ltd., a New Hamburg, Ont. designer and manufacturer of gears and transmissions, as well as the ARGO amphibious vehicle;

• COM DEV International Ltd., a global designer and manufacturer of space hardware in Cambridge, Ont.;

• NGC Aerospace Ltd., a high-tech provider of analysis, simulation and control services for aeronautical and terrestrial space vehicles in Sherbrooke, Que.;

• McGill University in Montreal; and

• Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc., a not-for-profit supplier of mine training, technology and mining technology development for space missions, in Sudbury, Ont.

Neptec said an eight-wheeled, skid-steer locomotion system will provide safe navigation on the moon’s rugged, steep slopes. The vehicle will be capable of exploration, mapping, drilling for water, excavation, preparation of landing sites and transporting astronauts. The vehicle, designed t withstand the moon’s thermal and vacuum extremes, will be controlled through tele-operations from a remote site at a nearby outpost, or from an operations centre on Earth; and it will be capable of unmanned operations.

The Rover program runs until Dec. 30, 2012.