Deltion, a contractor to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as well as the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), has been working to develop space mining systems since 1999. At the same time, Moon Express has become America's first private space exploration group to be given government approval to travel there.
Specifically within the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the two will collaborate to collect, process, store and use materials in outer space, or what it has called ‘in situ resource utilisation'.
Deltion's technology already includes drilling/excavation systems, processing, power systems, mobility systems, remote operations and subsurface exploration equipment, while Moon Express offers lunar commercial robotic spacecraft transportation and data services.
CEO Dale Boucher said the milestone is an important one for Deltion.
"This is an opportunity to provide a more balanced suite of capabilities for lunar exploration and lunar space mining," he said. "It provides a defined platform for launch, cruise, orbiting, landing and potential surface hopping, allowing us to offer more complete technical solutions for lunar science and lunar prospecting.
He noted that these capabilities will be crucial for early-stage mining exploration and resources utilisation.
"This collaboration will not only facilitate lunar mining activities at the early exploration stage of the mining cycle, but will also allow us to pretest later-stage mining activities such as excavation and mining infrastructure buildup," he added.
Moon Express founder and CEO Bob Richards said the company is confident Deltion, its first Canadian industry partner, will allow it to offer services to meet customers' science and exploration needs, especially within lunar resources. Also a partner of CSA and NASA, the company said its long-term goal is to "discover and unlock the resources of the moon for the benefit of Earth and the evolution of humanity into a multi-world civilisation".