MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates have been awarded multiple strategic technology development contracts valued at approximately $3 million under the Canadian Space Agency’s Space Technology Development Program aimed at advancing key technologies to support future space exploration missions.

The projects include ambitious approaches to robotic spacecraft servicing, robotic systems that can operate in more challenging space environments, and instruments for planetary exploration.

One project will focus on advancing the development of deployable ultra-high frequency (UHF) antennas used for satellite communication. UHF antennas are normally rigid and deployed at full size; this project seeks to develop an antenna that could be folded, resulting in a very compact size for launch. The antenna could then deploy to its full length once the final orbital position is reached. Reducing the size of the antenna at launch could benefit initiatives such as small satellites and hosted payloads.