Update on CASTOR

By / par Patrick Côté, John Hutchings (NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre)
(Cassiopeia – Winter / hivers 2021)

CASTOR has moved forward on a number of fronts since our last report.

  1. An export permit to exchange technical details with the IIA team in India is in process. This will enable full exchange of technical details as we move forward in defining the partnership.
  2. The RFP for the industrial phase 0 contract has been re-issued following some delays in the process. A contract should be approved and issued by early January.
  3. ISRO are seeking an interim agreement to work on a joint mission. A brief meeting in October between the CSA president and the ISRO chairman in October broached the subject and it is being followed up by CSA.
  4. The MOU annex between CSA and NRC for ongoing STDP support and phase 0 work has been signed by Directors General on both sides. Plans are thus now moving forward to fund university-based work towards the final deliverables.
  5. The MOU between CSA and JPL remains in process, as JPL plan all their activities resulting from the US decadal plan. The technical collaboration will begin early in 2022 to support the STDP industrial contracts. This also involves e2v as suppliers of the detectors.
  6. CSA recently announced a plan to fund a new collection of Topical Teams to map out their future activities in space exploration. The intent is not to replace LRP2020, but to provide additional details and ideas needed for long-term strategic planning. This is an opportunity for the community to update and emphasize the case for CASTOR, which has capabilities across the full range of topical teams.

The STDP work with ABB, Honeywell, and Magellan is proceeding well and the next contract milestone meeting on December 14 will reflect that. We have also continued to interact with the Canada-wide optical link network as an attractive option for CASTOR.

For more information on the mission, see here.

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