While BRP is well known for producing impressive Can-Am ATVs and UTVs, the Quebec-based manufacturer is now working on off-road vehicles that can be used in much harder to reach places – like Mars.
BRP will help develop a chassis and locomotion system 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 they received the mandate of two contracts by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the design, development, construction and testing of advanced space vehicles under the CSA’s Exploration Surface Mobility Program.
Terrestrial prototypes of the rovers will be constructed from advanced aluminum alloys with electric propulsion systems powered by battery and, in the case of the Mars rover, solar energy. They will also be capable of integrating hydrogen fuel cells.
According to BRP, the rover prototypes will target improvements to the performance of existing Martian and lunar exploration vehicles by a factor of between 5 and 10, in terms of speed, range and size.