Flights for the Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST 2013)
Announcement of Opportunity
Publication date: November 8, 2013
Application deadline: December 20, 2013
Table of Contents
- AO Objectives and Outcomes
- Eligibility Criteria
- Applications and AO Closing Date
- 6.1 Available Funding and Duration
- 6.2 Eligible Costs
- 6.3 Potential Access to Foreign Suborbital Platforms
- Funding Agreements
- Privacy Notice Statement
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Appendix A Scoring and Weighting
The objective of the Flights for the Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) Announcement of Opportunity (AO) is to provide grants to Canadian universities in support of research projects that offer hands-on opportunities to graduate students and consists in building or modifying scientific instruments or technologies, as well as flying them on suborbital platforms and conducting data analysis.
Building Canadian capacity in space science and technology is a priority for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Canada must develop and maintain a robust and experienced workforce within industry, academia, and government in order to continue playing an active role in future space missions. One way to build this capacity is to provide training opportunities for Canadian highly qualified personnel (HQP) who are interested in space science and technology development. These individuals are ideally positioned to capitalize on new ideas and technologies developed in Canada and abroad. By contributing to the advancement of knowledge and technology development, they will enhance Canada's future competitiveness and productivity in the space sector.
Given the limited opportunities, considerable costs and high risks of providing access to space platforms, such as full-fledge satellites or the International Space Station (ISS), there is a need for funding research projects involving alternative platforms such as nanosatellites, CubeSats, sounding rockets, stratospheric balloons, Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (SRLVs) or aircraft. Such platforms provide university students with unique educational opportunities in which they can obtain practical experience in projects related to and become involved in all aspects of space-based mission experiments.
Since the mission life cycle of research projects using these suborbital platforms corresponds more closely to the length of time required to complete a Master's, PhD or Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF) program, students have a better chance of acquiring hands-on experience prior to entering the Canadian job market.
This AO is also consistent with the terms and conditions of the CSA Class Grant and Contribution Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology – Research Component (G&C Program).
Applicants are asked to read the following AO thoroughly before submitting their applications. This AO has been prepared to help applicants complete the application process, and outlines key elements, including mandatory criteria for eligibility, details on eligible projects and the selection process. In the event of any discrepancies between this AO and the individual funding agreements governing a project or projects, the latter document(s) will take precedence.
2. AO Objectives and Outcomes
The CSA's objective with this AO is to provide grants for activities that require access to space and suborbital flights in order to develop HQP, and consist in conducting scientific research or in demonstrating, simulating, testing or validating technologies.
The objectives of this AO, which are linked to the CSA Grant and Contribution Program objectives, are as follows:
- Provide Canadian students with learning opportunities in various space-related disciplines;
- Promote the continued development of a critical mass of researchers and HQP in Canada in areas relevant to the priorities of the CSA; and
- Support the development of science and technology relevant to the priorities of the CSA through the use of research platforms including stratospheric balloons, aircraft, sounding rockets, nanosatellites, CubeSats and SRLV's.
2.2 AO Outcomes
This AO is expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- Increase the skills of HQP in space-related disciplines;
- Expand knowledge in space science and technology areas of priority via research projects;
- Establish and/or maintain partnerships, particularly with industry and foreign researchers;
- Leverage partner contributions; and
- Increase the number of Canadian HQP active in space-related disciplines.
These outcomes are consistent with the CSA's Program Activity Architecture (PAA) and the CSA Research Priorities (Section 3.3). Specifically, this AO will provide scientists and engineers (particularly HQP) with opportunities to conduct space science projects and/or to test space technology in priority areas. It will also enable them to prepare to participate in future space missions while developing their skills and acquiring new scientific and technical knowledge, thus helping to ensure the strategic and sustained utilization of space in Canada (CSA PAA 1.3).
3. Eligibility Criteria
3.1 Eligible Recipients
For the purposes of this AO, eligible recipients are limited to Canadian universities.
3.2 Eligible Projects and Training Activities
To be eligible, it is mandatory that a project include a planned space and/or suborbital flight and HQP training activities. Proposed projects must be related to the space science and/or technology research disciplines described in Section 3.3. While end-to-end projects are strongly encouraged, an eligible project may be related to any phase of a space mission but it must include a planned flight.
An end-to-end project usually includes the following activities:
- Project planning, management and operation;
- Feasibility assessment;
- Payload requirements definition, design, construction, integration and testing;
- Payload commissioning, calibrating and validating;
- Payload operation during a flight;
- Flight operations and payload recovery; and
- Activities related to experiments, such as collecting and analysing data.
All development phases necessary for a typical space mission are eligible. Any logical combination or breakdown of these phases can constitute a funded project, but the project must include a planned flight. However, breaking down a project into numerous phases to obtain more than the maximum grant is not allowed. Furthermore, even if the maximum funding for one project is not reached, the completion of a funded phase does not automatically guarantee funding of the remaining phases.
Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A Canadian-led experiment that includes training activities and involves a flight on one of the suborbital platforms listed in Section 3.6. The Canadian team's proposal may involve the development of any aspect of the experiment, and may include international contributions, such as expertise, instruments, launch facilities and/or operations; or
- A foreign-led flight mission that includes a valid Canadian scientific or technology contribution involving Canadian collaborators and their HQP.
3.3 Links to the CSA Priorities
Projects for which this AO will provide support must contribute to the achievement of the CSA Space Expertise and Proficiency sub-program activity (PAA 1.3.1):
This Sub-Program activity includes the development and enhancement of Canada's space capacity. This Sub-Program supports research in private or public organizations and sustains the development of HQP in science and engineering. We encourage scientists and engineers to perform relevant development activities in space science and technology, and to develop their know-how by offering them financial support to sustain their research project and access to infrastructure devoted to world class research and training, among which fast execution and small size missions offer frequent flight opportunity. This Sub-Program is necessary to create and sustain a pool of space expertise and proficiency that will form the next generation of space professionals and workers and to provide solutions for future Canadian space endeavours. This Sub-Program is delivered with the participation of funding agencies, Government of Canada (GoC) organizations, foreign space agencies and not-for-profit organizations. This collaborative effort is formalized under grants, contributions or national and international partnership. Source: CSA Report on Plans and Priorities (2013-14 Estimates).
More specifically, to be eligible, projects for which this AO provides support must provide hands-on training experience to HQP focusing on one or more of the following research disciplines:
- Satellite and spacecraft systems, components, environments and operations; systems engineering techniques; mechanical design; and communication system engineering;
- Space exploration science and technology, including priority life sciences, astronomy and astrophysics;
- Earth systems science, including: remote sensing of atmospheric composition; atmospheric dynamics, clouds and precipitation; soil moisture; biomass; fires; snow and ice cover; such as:
- Validation studies of satellite retrievals of air quality including airborne and ground studies of pollutants, clouds and aerosols;
- Satellite image analysis for landscape changes that have an impact on natural emissions and on deposition processes;
- Airborne and ground-based remote sensing measurements in support of science and validation contributions to satellite missions;
- Airborne remote sensing campaigns to further scientific understanding of changing sea ice and/or landscape conditions in the Canadian Arctic and validation of satellite retrievals/products; and
- Testing satellite instrument prototypes for remote sensing or measuring greenhouse gases, air quality species or meteorological variables.
- Solar-terrestrial science including in situ measurements or remote-sensing of energetic particles, magnetic fields, electrical fields, and atmospheric geospace-atmosphere interaction.
3.4 Targeted HQP
Selected projects will provide a defined training experience to HQP, including:
- Graduate students (Master's and PhD levels);
- Postdoctoral Fellows;
- Technicians (if it involves increasing their employment capability); and
- Research associates.
Undergraduate students in final-year projects may be part of the proposed project as future graduate students. Proposals focusing only on the training of undergraduate students will not be considered.
Undergraduate student participation in final-year projects and summer projects is an important first phase or step in research training and plays a major role in encouraging promising students to pursue research careers. For technicians and other individuals holding long-term positions, the acquisition of new skills and knowledge are important contributions to their training. The inclusion of these two elements in a project will be viewed favourably by the CSA.
The range of research and training projects for which this AO provides support will include graduate students working on their theses to postdoctoral level research, as well as research and development conducted by technical and other research personnel. The level and content of training should be appropriate to the research discipline, whether it is related to science or engineering, and should include opportunities for interaction and collaboration with other researchers inside and outside the organization, where appropriate.
In collaborative research activities involving non-university partners, such as industry, HQP training may be enhanced by exposure to an industrial or government work environment. Similarly, industry personnel may benefit from being involved in academic research. The CSA strongly encourages such collaborative research activities involving academia, industry, and foreign researchers.
The fact that an applicant has trained, is training, or plans to train students, technicians, or postdoctoral fellows, is not a sufficient rationale for awarding a grant. A researcher's contribution to the proposed training activities will be assessed in terms of its quality and impact, and not solely in terms of the number of people supervised.
3.5 Skills to be Acquired by HQP
Proposals must include a detailed training plan that outlines how hands-on experience will enable HQP to develop some or all of the following skills:
- Project management (resourcing, scheduling, compliance with budgets);
- Industrial design;
- Mechanical, optical or electrical engineering systems;
- Payload assembly, integration, testing and operation;
- Software development;
- Data analysis;
- Interpersonal communication and leadership; and/or
- Problem solving.
3.6 Eligible Research Platforms
The following platforms will be considered for the implementation of projects, either in Canada or abroad:
- Stratospheric and /or high altitude balloons;
- Sounding rockets;
- Nanosatellites or CubeSats; and
4. Applications and AO Closing Date
4.1 Required documentation
The application must include the following:
- A complete typed original application form signed by the duly authorized representative;
- Two hard copies of the proposal;
- A copy of the application (identical to the signed paper copy) in a standard electronic media format (USB flash drive, CD or DVD);
- Letters from other funding contributors confirming their contributions (if applicable);
- Declaration on Confidentiality (see page 10 of the application form) signed by the duly authorized representative; and
- For organizations in Québec, M-30 Supporting Documentation form (see page 11 of the application form) completed and signed by the duly authorized representative.
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that his/her application complies with all relevant federal, provincial and territorial legislation and municipal bylaws.
Applications must be mailed to the CSA at the following address:
c/o France Bolduc
Science & Technology Programs
Space Science & Technology
Canadian Space Agency
6767, route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Québec J3Y 8Y9
Applicants must also take note of the following:
- Proposals must be received at the CSA no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST), December 20, 2013. New!
- Applications sent by email will not be accepted.
- Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA Web site in the FAQ of this AO (see Section 9). The CSA will answer questions received before December 13, 2013 New!.
4.2 Service Standards for this AO – Complete Applications
Applicants will be notified in writing of decisions regarding their application. Selected applications will be announced on the CSA website. The CSA has set the following service standards for delays in processing requests, acknowledgements of receipt, funding decisions and payment procedures.
Acknowledgement: The CSA's goal is to acknowledge receipt of proposals within two weeks of receiving the completed application package.
Decision: The CSA's goal is to respond to the proposal within 14 weeks of the AO's closing date and to send a grant agreement for signature within four weeks after formal approval of the proposal.
Payment: The CSA's goal is to issue payment within 4 weeks of the successful fulfillment of the requirements outlined in the grant agreement.
Compliance with these service standards is a shared responsibility. Applicants must submit all required documentation in a timely fashion.
5.1 Eligibility Criteria
An eligible proposal will be one that:
- Represents an eligible recipient as defined in Section 3.1;
- Represents an eligible project as defined in Section 3.2 to Section 3.6; and
- Complies with program funding provisions (see Section 6).
5.2 Evaluation Criteria
Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria. Their respective scores and weights are detailed in Appendix A.
- Benefits to Canada;
- Project feasibility; and
- Risk and risk mitigation measures.
5.3 Evaluation Process
5.3.1 Pre-screening Process
The CSA will conduct a preliminary screening of the proposals received to ensure that they comply with the eligibility criteria (Section 3), funding restrictions (Section 6.1) and application requirements (Section 4.1). Applicants MUST fill out Section 4 of the Application Form (Pre-screening Criteria). Only applications that have passed the pre-screening process will be given further consideration.
5.3.2 Evaluation Process
Once the pre-screening process is completed, evaluators will assess the screened applications according to the criteria listed in Section 5.2 and detailed at Annex A. Evaluators will be experts in fields relevant to the applications and may include representatives of Canada and other countries, and representatives of other government and non-government agencies and organizations. If applicable, a multidisciplinary evaluation committee will be formed when applications from several different disciplines are competing in order to provide a uniform final score and ranking of proposals.
Before a final decision is made, the CSA's Program Manager responsible for this AO may seek input and advice from other organizations, including (but not limited to) federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government agencies and organizations.
To determine the amount of funding to be allocated, consideration will be given to the availability of CSA funds, the total cost of the project, as well as the other confirmed sources of funds provided by other stakeholders and the applicant.
6.1 Available Funding and Duration
Funding agreements will cover a period of up to three years to allow successful applicants (recipients) to complete their training and project objectives.
The level of funding will vary depending on the type of project proposed. There are two categories of funding. One proposal per category will be allowed for each identified Principal Investigator (PI).
- Category A covers proposals in which a total amount up to $250,000 per project is requested (over a term of up to 3 years in duration).
- This category is for payloads that require development or significant improvements in order to be ready for flight. However, the launch of the proposed payload must be planned to take place during the term of the grant agreement. The proposal must include documentation supporting the level of payload development, the time line for developing and/or improving it, and the planned flight schedule.
- Category B covers proposals in which a total amount up to $80,000 per project is requested (over a term of up to two years in duration).
- This category is for payloads that have already flown, and/or for which little or no improvement is required. The launch of a payload must be planned to take place during the term of the grant agreement. The proposal must include documentation supporting the level of development of the payload, the time line to improve it, and the planned flight schedule.
The maximum amount of funding that the CSA will provide for a single project will vary depending on the space and suborbital platforms to be used, and the CSA's available budget. The CSA may propose a reduced amount for any requested grant.
Before each installment, the Program Manager will reassess the recipient's eligibility according to the expected results stated in the recipient's proposal. The duration of proposed projects may not exceed two or three years, depending on funding categories A and B as specified above, unless the CSA agrees otherwise, or to allow a second flight. Grant agreements may be amended following a careful review of progress reports, a proposal for project continuation, and a risk analysis that takes the new requested termination date into account. Following a flight described in its proposal, a recipient could be entitled to re-fly its payload during an additional flight campaign, if it is deemed required and is justified. The grant agreement would then be amended under the same terms and conditions of those set out in the original grant agreement, but here would be no additional grant of funding from the CSA.
The number of projects funded under this AO will depend on funding availability. For instance, current available budget could fund the following number of projects:
- 4 projects in Category A ($250,000) over three years; and
- 6 projects in Category B ($80,000) over two years.
The CSA reserves the right to not accept any proposals or to reduce the amount for categories A and B. Approved proposals will be eligible for a total amount of government assistance (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) of up to 100% of total project costs.
Recipients must identify all sources of funding in their applications and confirm this information in a funding agreement if the project is selected for funding. Upon completion of a project, the applicant must also disclose all sources of funding. To determine the amount of financial support it will offer, the CSA will consider the total project cost as well as funding obtained by the applicant from other organizations/sources.
Given the objectives of this AO and the limited available budget, a PI may only submit one proposal per funding category in response to this AO (although an institution may apply more than once). Multiple submissions from a PI cannot be for the same project. However, two or more PIs can apply separately for the same project if each targets different development phases, but the aggregate funds requested by these PIs cannot exceed the funding limits mentioned above.
6.2 Eligible Costs
Eligible costs are direct expenses associated with the delivery of the approved project and that are required to achieve the expected results of the project. Eligible costs for a grant can include one or a combination of the following:
- Access fees;
- Accommodation and meal allowances;
- Acquisition, development and printing of materials;
- Acquisition or rental of equipment;
- Aircraft and watercraft charter services;
- Consultant services;
- Costs related to obtaining security clearance;
- Data acquisition;
- Data management;
- Laboratory analysis services;
- Launcher services;
- Licences and permit fees;
- Material and supplies;
- Participation fees at conferences, committees and events;
- PST, HST and GST minus any rebate to which the recipient is entitled and the reimbursement of any taxes for goods and services acquired in a foreign country minus any rebate or reimbursement received in the foreign country;
- Publication and communication services;
- Registration fees;
- Salaries and benefits;
- Translation services;
- Travel; and
- Tuition fees.
6.3 Potential Access to Foreign Suborbital Platforms
Through this AO, the CSA is soliciting proposals related to the use of the suborbital platforms mentioned in Section 3.6. However, applicants may take advantage of several flight opportunities, which are outlined in the following sections.
6.3.1 Potential Access to Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) Stratospheric Balloons
In 2010, the CSA entered into a 10-year agreement with the France's CNES. Under this agreement, the CSA will develop and operate for CNES a mid-latitude facility for launching balloons in Canada (Timmins, Ontario). In exchange, CNES will fly and operate balloons every year for Canada CSA from different locations in the world where CNES conducts balloon campaigns.
This collaboration with CNES will allow Canada to benefit from CNES technology and expertise, thus maximizing the probability of safe and successful flights, significant scientific findings, while reducing the overall cost to Canadians. According to the CNES/CSA Implementing Agreement, the CSA will be entitled to the following:
- Fly an average of five (5) payloads on CNES stratospheric balloons per year regardless of where in the world the launch takes place;
- Two (2) of these five payloads will fly on two dedicated balloons as primary payloads. One of these two primary payloads will have a maximum mass of 1,000 kg, while the second will have a maximum mass of 500 kg; and
- Three (3) secondary payloads will fly as piggy-back payloads on European gondolas. Each of these three secondary payloads should not have a mass exceeding 50 kg.
In the case of primary payloads, the recipient will fly the payload on its dedicated gondola. Neither CNES nor the CSA will be responsible for providing such a gondola, including pointing systems and/or gondola sub-systems (such as power and communication systems). However, CNES will provide the telemetry and telecommunications system (TM/TC-SIREN) that will allow the payload communications system to download data to the ground. Information on the TM/TC-SIREN system is available upon request.
In the case of secondary payloads, the recipient must provide a self-contained payload that will not interfere with the European primary payload, unless the secondary payload is part of a pre-established international collaboration project in which the European PI has confirmed access to a CNES balloon flight opportunity.
Once a grant is obtained, for any CNES balloon flights, the recipient must fill out a questionnaire providing additional information on its payload and the flight requirements. The recipient will subsequently be responsible for ensuring its payload and its gondola (if appropriate) is ready on time and meets safety and interface requirements, which are outlined in user's manuals and are available upon request. The CSA will carry out an internal technology assessment several months before a CNES balloon campaign to confirm whether or not a proposed payload is ready as planned. The CSA will do its utmost to fly all FAST grant recipient payloads that meet the CSA Safety and Mission Assurance (S&MA), interface and schedule requirements, and are compatible with CNES balloon campaign plans and schedule. However, the CSA cannot guarantee a flight at the location, period of the year or time of day stated in a recipient's proposal.
Applicants interested in utilizing a CNES balloon flight must clearly state so in their application and provide information on their payload as well as their flight preferences (such as period of the year for a flight, launch site and the expected support required by CNES and the CSA).
CNES usually confirms the location where a balloon campaign takes place approximately one year before the campaign. The CNES balloon launch sites for 2015 and 2016 are:
- Kiruna, Sweden, in the Arctic, or
- Timmins, Ontario, at mid latitude.
6.3.2 Potential Access to NASA Suborbital Platforms
From time to time, NASA will post Announcements of Opportunity offering access to various suborbital platforms to US and non-US organizations through the NASA Flight Opportunity Program (FOP). According to NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, selected technologies will travel to the edge of space and back on US commercial suborbital vehicles and platforms, providing opportunities for testing them before they are sent to work in the space environment. Since the CSA has no specific agreements with NASA regarding the FOP, it is the responsibility of Canadian researchers to meet all of the requirements of the NASA program and cover the associated costs. Therefore, a FAST grant recipient who intends to fly a payload on US commercial suborbital vehicles will have to carefully assess the risk of not potentially being able to secure a flight on such platforms. Additional information on the FOP can be found on the following web site: flightopportunities.nasa.gov/.
The CSA has no responsibility for flight opportunities that NASA may offer.
As described on the FOP Web site, eligible suborbital platforms are the following:
- Zero-G aircraft to conduct parabolic flights;
- Long-duration, high-altitude balloons; and
6.3.3 Student Access to Sounding-Rocket, Balloon and Cubesat Launches through the European Space Agency (ESA)
As a Cooperating State of the ESA, Canada and therefore, Canadian students, may be eligible for ESA Education Programs. For more information, visit the following Website: www.esa.int/Education.
Moreover, through ESA and under a bilateral agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), Canadian students have access to the REXUS/BEXUS program, which allows students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe and Canada to conduct scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Two rockets and two balloons are launched each year, carrying up to 20 experiments designed and built by student teams. REXUS experiments are launched on an unguided, spin-stabilized rocket powered by an Improved Orion motor with 290 kg of solid propellant. It is capable of taking 40 kg of student experiment modules to an altitude of approximately 90 km. The vehicle has a length of approx. 5.6 m and a body diameter of 35.6 cm. BEXUS experiments are lifted by a balloon with a volume of 12,000 m³ to a maximum altitude of 30 km, depending on total experiment mass (40-100 kg). The flight duration is two to five hours. EuroLaunch, a joint venture involving the Esrange Space Center of the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles. Experts provide student teams with technical support throughout the project. REXUS and BEXUS are launched from the SSC's Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. The REXUS/BEXUS 2014/15 Call for Proposals is open and the deadline for application is October 21, 2013. Additional information can be obtained at: www.rexusbexus.net.
7. Funding Agreements
The CSA and each successful applicant (the recipient) will sign a funding agreement, which is a condition for any payment made by the CSA with respect to the approved project. Payments will be made in a lump sum or in installments as described in the signed agreement. Grant funding agreements will include a clause stipulating the recipient's obligation to confirm—once a year in the case of multi-year agreements—their eligibility for this G&C Program – Research Component and inform the CSA in writing of any changes to the conditions used in determining their entitlement to and eligibility for to this component.
7.2 Conflict of interest
In the funding agreement, the recipient will certify that any former public office holder or public servant it employs complies with the provisions of the relevant Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Former Public Office Holders and the Value and Ethics Code for Public Servants respectively.
7.3 Intellectual Property
All intellectual property developed by the recipient in the course of the project shall vest in the recipient.
When applicable, the funding agreement will include a provision granting to the CSA a non-exclusive, irrevocable, world-wide, free and royalty-free license in perpetuity to use or sub-license the use of any such intellectual property contained in the recipient's reports for non-commercial governmental purposes.
7.4 Organizations in Québec
An organization in Quebec whose operations are partially or fully funded by the province of Quebec may be subject to the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, L.R.Q., chapter M-30. Under sections 3.11 and 3.12 of this Act, certain entities/organizations, as defined in the meaning of this Act, such municipal bodies, school bodies, or public agencies, must obtain an authorization by the Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennesdu Québec (SAIC), as indicated by this Act, before signing any funding agreement with the GoC, its departments or agencies, or a federal public agency. Consequently, any entity that is subject to this Act is responsible for obtaining such authorization before signing any funding agreement with the GoC.
Quebec applicants must complete, sign and include the M-30 Supporting Documentation Form with their application.
7.5 Performance Measurement
The CSA will ask recipients to report on certain aspects of their projects, such as:
- Knowledge Production (including publications)
- Intellectual Property (including patents)
- Project's Research Team (including Highly Qualified Personnel supported)
- Partners' contributions
8. Privacy Notice Statement
The CSA will comply with the federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Act with respect to applications received. By submitting personal information, an applicant is consenting to its collection, use and disclosure of that information in accordance with the following Privacy Notice Statement which explains how the applicant's information will be managed.
Necessary measures have been taken to protect the confidentiality of the information provided by the applicant. This information is collected under the authority of the CSA Class Grant and Contribution Program in order to support for the Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology - Research Component, and will be used for the evaluation and selection of proposals. Personal information (such as contact information, biographical information, etc) included in the rejected proposals will be stored in a CSA Personal Information Bank for 5 years and then destroyed (Personal Information File no. ASC PPU045). Personal information included in the successful proposals will be kept, along with the results of their proposals for historical purposes. These data are protected under the Privacy Act. According to the Privacy Act, the data linked to an individual and included in the proposal being evaluated can be accessed by the specific concerned individual who has rights with respect to this information. This individual may, upon request, (1) be given access to his/her data and (2) have incorrect information corrected or have a notation attached.
Applicants should note that for all agreements over $25 000, information related to the funding agreement (amount, grant or contribution, name of the recipient and project location) will be made available to the public on the CSA web site.
For additional information on privacy matter prior to submitting a proposal, please contact:
Coordinator, Access to Information and Privacy
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4866
9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It is the responsibility of the applicants to obtain clarification of the requirements contained herein, if necessary, before submitting an application. At any point in the process, applicants are invited to share with the CSA their comments or suggestions regarding the AO, the program, or the process. Applicants may use the anonymous web-based Comments and Suggestions Box available at: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/resources/gc/comments-form.asp.
For any questions related to the AO, applicants may either use the web-based Comments and Suggestion Box or the email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). Both methods are anonymous. Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the "FAQ" section of this AO. The CSA will respond to questions received before 5:00 p.m. (EST), December 13, 2013 New!.
Answer 1: A planned flight means that the PI has indicated in the work breakdown structure the flight of an instrument or technology during the period covered by the grant agreement. It is not necessary to have secured funding, nor is it necessary to have written confirmation that the flight will take place on the planned date. Some suborbital platform operators are unable to confirm at the present time if a flight campaign might take place in 2015 or 2016. Moreover, a grant awarded through this AO could be used to support the cost of launcher services.
- Unfortunately, we are not permitted to interact directly with interested applicants before the AO closing date. All questions must therefore be submitted through the Q&A process.
Answer 3: No, only Canadian universities are eligible to the FAST AO 2013.
Answer 4: Recipients of a grant from the FAST AO 2011 can apply to the FAST AO 2013 under one of the two funding categories mentioned in Section 6.1. To be eligible for funding under category A, a project must include either the development of a new payload or a significant improvement to an existing payload in order to render it ready for flight. For funding under category B, a payload must either already have flown or be ready to fly with little improvements made to it.
Answer 5: For the FAST AO 2013, payloads must fly on the platforms listed in Section 3.6.
Answer 6: Projects funded through the FAST AO 2013 must start no later than during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Moreover, the project proposed must include a planned flight.
- See the following link: www4.asc-csa.gc.ca/transparence-transparency/eng/grants.aspx.
- Other than the information provided in the FAST AO 2013, we do not have a list of future balloon/aircraft opportunities at this time.
Answer 8: Yes, the Application Form constitutes the proposal itself. However, this form must be accompanied by all the documents listed in Section 4.1 of the AO.
Answer 9: For criterion 2.1, evaluators will not consider the payload launch cost in the calculation of the HQP-to-budget ratio. For example, a project with a total cost of $450,000 involving 3 HQP to develop and fly a payload on a balloon, for which the launch cost is $300,000, will have a HQP-to-budget ratio of 3/$150,000.
Answer 10: Overhead is not an eligible expense under this AO.
- We expect to make the first payment in March/April 2014.
- Grant agreements will cover a three or two-year period depending on the selected funding category (A or B).
Answer 12: Secondary payloads are opportunity-based; their launch is a function of the volume, mass and power available on a given gondola. Secondary payloads should therefore assume that, until a specific platform has been identified, they will have to provide their own power. Regarding telecommunications, all gondolas flying with the CNES balloon system (NOSYCA) can use the provided Telecommunication & Telemetry Control (TT&C) SIREN module, which is available to all payloads. However, please note that in the case of secondary payloads, the total bandwidth allocation must be shared by all of the instruments mounted onboard a given gondola. Payloads may also be equipped with their own TT&C system. However, FAST grantees would then be responsible for demonstrating their system's radio frequency is compatible with NOSYCA. FAST grantees are also responsible for all associated radio communication licenses. Finally, note that all flight hardware is typically recovered within 3 days after landing, thereby permitting the use of on-board memory for larger sets of data rather than real-time telemetry.
Answer 13: Yes. CNES and CSA will try to accommodate, as much as possible, the required flight profile (including launch time) requested by the user.
Answer 15: It is acceptable to present two proposals that will contribute to the development of separate but mutually dependent components, if the total request for funds between the two institutions does not exceed the $250,000 limit listed in section 6.1.
Answer 16: To be eligible for the FAST AO, a "nanosatellite" should not have a mass exceeding 10 kilograms.
Answer 17: "Overhead" is not an eligible expense for the FAST AO. Moreover, according to Treasury Board rules, a grant cannot be divided into sub-grants and then distributed amongst different institutions. Therefore, a foreign partner cannot receive part of the grant except if such a partner provides a service and a contract has been put in place for that subject matter.
Funds obtained through the FAST AO can only be used to support eligible expenses as described in the AO, whether they are supported by the recipient or by a consultant.
Answer 18: No. All expenses associated with payload and gondola development, testing, integration and shipping, as well as travel and accommodation before, during and after the launch campaign, are the grant recipient's responsibility. Expenses associated with a CNES balloon launch, flight operation and balloon recovery, as well as the TM/TC system, will be supported by CNES and/or CSA and therefore should not be considered in a FAST AO proposal.
Answer 19: A Co-I is considered to be a contributing team member with an in-depth knowledge of the proposed research project.
Answer 20: International members of the team, as well as other collaborators, are not required to provide an NSERC Form 100. However, it is the applicant's responsibility to provide all appropriate information for the evaluation of the proposal according to the FAST AO selection criteria.
Answer 21: It is up to the principal investigator to identify the roles and responsibilities of team members as she or he sees fit.
For general information on CSA's balloon program, please refer to: www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/sciences/balloons/default.asp
Regarding mission profile, several altitudes are possible when using a stratospheric balloon. These altitudes typically range between 32-42 km. Multiple levels during one flight are also possible. The chosen profile is typically a function of the payload's scientific and technical objectives, the total mass of the entire platform as well as the wind parameters on the day of the flight. For flights taking off from Timmins, the path generally follows an eastward or westward direction, depending on the stratospheric winds. The flight must be kept within a 500 km radius flight polygon from the launch site:
To obtain a copy of the CNES Balloon User Manuel, please send a request to: GRANTSandCONTRIBUTIONS@asc-csa.gc.ca. This document is subject to change at any time. Notice of such changes will be sent only to organizations that would have officially requested a copy of the document.
Appendix A Scoring and Weighting
A numerical weight is associated with each criterion. It is strongly recommended that applicants draft their proposals by providing information related to each highest score. Proposals that only or mainly describe the scientific and/or technological merits of their project will have a very low probability of obtaining a grant. Since the objective of this AO is to train HQP, most of the selection criteria are related to HQP training.
1. Benefits to Canada
2. Results in Terms of Contribution to the Training of HQP
4. Feasibility of the Project
5. Risk and mitigation measures
Total Max. 100
Total Min. 70Footnote 1
- Footnote 1
The minimum score of 70/100 is greater than the sum of the individual sub-total minimums.
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