Nasa and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have formalised the Gateway collaboration agreement for the Artemis programme.

Gateway is a planned small space station in the lunar orbit and is approximately one-sixth the size of the International Space Station. It is designed to support the sustainable, long-term return of astronauts to the lunar surface.

As part of the agreement, CSA will provide end-to-end external robotics, including engineering and operations.

Additionally, the Canadian agency will provide an advanced robotic arm, known as Canadarm3 and Gateway modules’ robotic interfaces, which will help in installing payload.

With this agreement, Nasa also fulfils the commitment to provide two crew opportunities for Canadian astronauts, one each to the Gateway and Artemis II.

Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “Canada was the first international partner to commit to advancing the Gateway in early 2019, they signed the Artemis Accords in October, and now we’re excited to formalise this partnership for lunar exploration.

“This agreement represents an evolution of our cooperation with CSA providing the next generation of robotics that have supported decades of missions in space on the space shuttle and International Space Station, and now, for Artemis.”

Canadarm3 is scheduled for delivery to the lunar outpost in 2026 through a US commercial logistics supply flight.

In October this year, Nasa selected 14 American companies as partners under public-private partnerships to advance ‘Tipping Point’ technologies for the moon and Mars.