Canada's Space Policy Framework

Protecting our national sovereignty, security and safety, Canadian satellites monitor the Earth round the clock, peering through cloud cover, darkness, fog and smoke. Research instruments in orbit probe everything from the complexities of the atmosphere to the Earth's ionosphere – where the atmosphere ends and space begins.

Meanwhile, space systems have become crucial to daily essential services, from banking to the Internet to telephony. Weather forecasting and environmental monitoring, natural disaster warning and response, air traffic control and seagoing navigation, border security, military surveillance and crop management – all of these depend on sophisticated space technologies.

The well-being of Canadians depends on the services the space industry provides. The skills the industry requires are those of an advanced, knowledge-based economy. The jobs it creates are demanding and rewarding. And the profits it generates domestically and through international sales and partnership are a powerful benefit to the national economy.

It is essential to the national interest, then, that Canada maintain a robust, technologically superior and commercially competitive space industry.

RADARSAT CONSTELLATION MISSION

Credit: MDA Corporation

Scheduled for launch in 2018, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission is a fleet of three sophisticated remote-sensing satellites that will monitor all of Canada's land and ocean territories and 95 per cent of the world's surface. The configuration builds on the success of Canada's previous RADARSAT missions, launched in 1995 and 2007, which have been invaluable in everything from oceanography to forestry, marine surveillance to humanitarian relief efforts. The Constellation Mission will extend those capacities, aiding in ship identification, ice monitoring, oil spill detection and forest firefighting. It will be of particular value in monitoring the Northwest Passage, crucial to safety, security and sovereignty in Canada's North.

SAPPHIRE

Credit: MDA Corporation

Launched in 2013, Sapphire is Canada's first operational military satellite. An orbital traffic controller, Sapphire monitors thousands of pieces of space debris, detects man-made objects in orbit, and provides data to the U.S.-led Space Surveillance Network dedicated to preventing satellite collisions.