The recent Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announcement of opportunity (AO), focused on "Industrial Capacity- Building Contributions in the Area of Spacecraft Platforms" is unusual is several respects:
- As outlined in section 1, the intent of the program is to "support Industrial Capacity Building related to the development of industrial capabilities which could range from developing novel concepts and /or products/services to improving industrial processes related to spacecraft platforms." This seems to be almost an open ended request for ideas, which the CSA could use in a variety of upcoming activities rather than a more specific request for the rovers or the next generation Canadarms which are more typical of recent CSA procurement initiatives.
- Even better, as outlined in section 4.1, the theme of the AO is "to support the strengthening of industrial capabilities relating to the development of spacecraft platforms." A variety of systems are listed as being eligible for funding under the program but the key to this section is its open ended nature. According to this section, "there are no restrictions with respect to the size of the platform for which the technologies and related processes are being supported under this AO."
- But best of all, as outlined in section 5, eligible recipients of the program are limited to "for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada." Other CSA grant or contribution initiatives have typically targeted universities or other non-profit institutions.
It's too early to tell whether or not this new variation on a very old procurement process will become a trend but it will certainly be interesting to see which projects end up getting funded.