Collaboration between NASA and CSA is a step towards successfully fulfilling the Artemis II mission along with one Canadian crew member.
NASA announced on 16th December 2020 that one Canadian astronaut will be sent to Moon's orbit to showcase the partnership between CSA (Canadian Space Agency) and NASA. Previously these two organizations have collaborated to build a lunar space station called the Lunar Gateway. The gateway is one part of the Artemis program by NASA, which involves landing the first female astronaut on the lunar surface by 2024.
The CSA is participating in NASA's Artemis II mission and it also has a seat reserved in the Gateway. According to CSA, Canada will become the second country to fly around the Moon by joining the Artemis II program. Currently, there are four active astronauts in Canada and the CSA is yet to announce the participants of the partnership.
While the Artemis I program involved an un-crewed test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion capsule, the Artemis II will be the first flight of the program to have astronauts on board. In its 10-day long mission, the crew will check all systems of the spacecraft. The mission is to go 4600 miles away from the far side of the Moon. Landing on the moon is scheduled for another program, which is Artemis III.
However, the partnership is not only limited to the crew; it will also provide robotic assistance externally for the Gateway which will include the development of Canadarm3. The Canadarm3 is a robotic system, which is autonomous and has detachable tools and multiple arms. It will analyze and repair the exterior of the Gateway, relocate Gateway modules and catch other vehicles while orbiting the moon. Development and maintenance of the Gateway is a very critical step for NASA in establishing a permanent position on the moon. The main motive behind building the Gateway is to set it up as a research station and resting stop for other deep space missions.