Neptec Wins $1.7M Design Contract for Space Station Vision System
LONGUEUIL, Quebec, Canada, Jan. 8, 2016 — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded Neptec Design Group Ltd. of Ottowa, Ontario, a $1.7 million contract to design a vision system for inspection and maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS).
CSA said the system which will be launched in 2020. It will use a combination of three sensors: a 3D lidar system, an HD camera and an IR camera.
In addition to the natural aging of the ISS's materials, the station is regularly hit by small meteorites and orbital debris. Roughly the size of a microwave oven, the vision system will reveal damage the naked eye cannot detect or that is located in hard-to-reach areas.
Dextre, a CSA robot on board the ISS, will use the system to inspect external surfaces for signs of damage. In addition to inspection, the system will also assist in docking of spacecraft visiting the station.
Spinoffs of the 3D lidar and IR camera technologies used in Neptec's vision system could be used to increase mining productivity, to ensure safer operation of subsea oil and gas infrastructure, and for guiding self-driving vehicles, said CEO Paul Nephin.