Space Technology FAQ's

Question 1

What is Space Technology?

Answer 1

The changes taking place in our society are bringing space technologies and their benefits closer and closer to more Canadians everyday. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA)'s Space Technology Sector is ensuring that this trend continues.

Overall, the ST Sector has the mandate to promote the development of new and future space technologies that meet our national needs and to support our internationally competitive space industry for the benefit of Canadians.

Areas of Expertise

The ST Sector houses four divisions of space activities that are vital to the success of the Canadian Space Program:

  • Spacecraft Engineering
  • Spacecraft Payloads
  • Software and Ground Segment
  • Technology Management

A principal focus of the Spacecraft Engineering Division is to increase the understanding and capabilities of state-of-the-art technologies destined for the harsh conditions of outer space. Areas of R&D include space structures, robotics and automation, and advanced materials.

The Spacecraft Payloads Division emphasizes advancements in electronic and optical technologies critical to all spacecraft including satellites. The division's areas of expertise include remote sensing technologies used on Canada's RADARSAT Earth observation satellite system, digital electronics, optical sensing technologies essential to vision systems, and medical imaging.

The division's areas of expertise include remote sensing technologies used on Canada's RADARSAT Earth observation satellite system, digital electronics, optical sensing technologies essential to vision systems, and medical imaging.

The Software and Ground Segment Division is responsible for developing innovative and emerging space technologies related to computer systems, systems architecture, software engineering, and terrestrial ground segments.

The Technology Management Division manages the strategic development, diffusion and commercialization of space technologies in Canada. This is accomplished through a number of unique programs:

Question 2

What are the Benefits of Space Technology?

Answer 2

The number of ways in which space technologies are being beneficially applied in space and on Earth is much greater than most people imagine. The transfer of space technology to applications on Earth results in a multitude of benefits which include advancements in prosthetics, improved communications, safer treatment of nuclear waste, and the development of more precise vision systems for health care.

Significant economic benefits result from the support the Sector provides to a growing network of regionally-based value-added companies. Equally important, the Sector champions international market niches for Canadian companies by assisting them in the design of new space technologies, and in the development of their expertise and competitiveness. For example, the European Space Agency (ESA) Program, of which Canada is the only non-European member, allows Canadian companies to enter into, and capitalize on, the active European aerospace industry.

Space technology has long been contributing to an improved quality of life of all Canadians, and will continue to do so.

The future is here and now at the Space Technology Sector. The CSA invites all Canadians to learn more about the ways in which the Sector and the Canadian Space Program have helped build our past, are enriching our present, and are preparing us for the future.

To learn more about the everyday benefits of Canada's activities in space, please visit our Everyday Benefits section.

Question 3

What is Space Technology's relation to the European Space Agency?

Answer 3

The ESA is an international organization devoted to the development of space sciences, technologies and applications. It is composed of 14 European Member States and one Co-operating State (Canada).

Canada is the only non-European country to participate directly in ESA programs. As such, the ESA Program has become a vital element of the international component of the Canadian Space Program. Canada's participation in ESA is primarily focused on the fields of Earth observation and satellite communications. Canada also participates in ESA's Generic Space Technologies Program which supports technology development in all areas relevant to space.

Our participation in ESA programs make Canadian companies eligible to obtain technology development contracts from ESA, and to participate in major European space projects. As a result, our industry develops business partnerships with leading European space firms, becomes established in the European market, and wins other contracts on purely a commercial basis.

Since 1980, Canadian industry has received some 350 contracts worth in excess of C$220 million from ESA. In addition to the industrial, economic, and technological benefits of this co-operation, Canada's participation in ESA programs provides a window into European space policies, strategies and plans, and improves Canada's visibility on the international scene.

Question 4

How to do Business with ESA?

Answer 4

The ESA program is primarily intended for export-oriented high tech firms. ESA releases Requests for Proposals (RFP) and Announcements of Opportunities on a regular basis. Interested companies may access details of all ESA's current and forthcoming contracts through an Electronic Mail Invitation to Tender System (EMITS), accessible free of charge everywhere in Canada. A paper copy of the List of Intended Invitations to Tender is mailed periodically to companies registered as potential suppliers to ESA. The registration with ESA and EMITS password can be obtained free of charge from ESA Headquarters, Contracts Department, Fax: For more information on ESA and its programs, consult their WWW home page at

For more information on the ESA Program at the CSA, please contact:

Raymond Guillemette
Telephone: 450-926-4931
Fax: 450-926-4613

Question 5

As a company that has various innovative technologies, what programs does Space Technology offer us? What is the STDP and what can it do for industry?

Answer 5

The STDP of the CSA issues periodic RFP to regularly seek promising technologies that have a significant potential for impacting the Canadian Space Program. Priority is given to the development of innovative leap-frog technologies within technical priority themes: technologies having a strong potential to meet future needs of the Canadian Space Program and ensure the growth and international competitiveness of the Canadian space industry. The Program has five Program Elements:

  • Innovative Technologies and Concepts
  • Mission Concepts
  • Technologies for Future Canadian Mission
  • Technologies for the Enhancement of Industrial Competitiveness
  • Space Technology Flight Demonstration

For more information, please contact :

Gilles Leclerc
Manager, Technology Management
Telephone: 450-926-4606
Fax: 450-926-4613