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CubeSats Initiative in Canada for STEM (CUBICS)

On this page

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. AO OBJECTIVES
  3. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
  4. SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION
  5. EVALUATION
  6. ROLES OF THE CSA
  7. FUNDING
  8. FUNDING AGREEMENTS
  9. PRIVACY NOTICE STATEMENT
  10. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
  11. APPENDIX A – List of Acronyms
  12. APPENDIX B – Background Information on CubeSats and CubeSat Payloads
  13. APPENDIX C – Scoring

Announcement of Opportunity (AO)

Publication date:

Application deadline: , at 1:00 p.m. (ET)

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) only receives applications when the selection process is open.

Key dates:

Summary of key information

  • Expected budget for this Announcement of Opportunity (AO): $3.4 million
  • Eligible recipients: Canadian universities and other postsecondary institutions
  • Type of transfer of payments: Grants
  • Maximum amount per grant (2 funding categories):
    • Stream 1: $150,000
    • Stream 2: $350,000
  • Maximum duration of a project per grant:
    • Stream 1: two years and a half (2.5 years)
    • Stream 2: three years (3 years)
  • Estimated projects start date: onwards
  • Application deadline: , at 1:00 p.m. (ET)

Please note: A list of acronyms used in this AO is available in Appendix A.

1 INTRODUCTION

In , the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) launched the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP), a Canada-wide initiative to provide postsecondary institutions across Canada with an opportunity to engage their students in a real space mission by designing, building, launching and operating a CubeSat in space. Hundreds of students from across the country participated in the CCP, which created numerous new collaborations and even generated a start-up company founded by a student. Perhaps most importantly, this unique experience helped propel numerous students to join the space workforce and to tackle the exciting opportunities that Canada's space sector has to offer.

In view of this success, the CSA is renewing this opportunity to gain unique, hands-on experience by launching the CubeSats Initiative in Canada for STEM (CUBICS) AO. This initiative will once again allow hundreds of students to increase their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), acquire expertise in a wide variety of areas and develop invaluable skills to transition into the Canadian workforce.

Based on lessons learned from the CCP, the CSA has made some key improvements to better adapt the CUBICS initiative to student needs:

This AO is delivered under 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.

Applicants are asked to read the following AO thoroughly before submitting their applications. This AO was 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, the latter document(s) will take precedence.

2 AO OBJECTIVES

In accordance with the Space Strategy for Canada, the main objectives of CUBICS are to:

This AO also intends to support research that will contribute to addressing important challenges in areas of priority (such as the fight against climate change), as per the Space Strategy for Canada and the Federal Budget.

3 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

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3.1 Eligible Recipients

Canadian universities and other postsecondary institutions.

3.2 Eligible Projects

The CSA invites postsecondary institutions to submit a proposal under one of the following two streams (see Section 7.1 for further details):

  • Stream 1. Standalone Scientific Payload Project: This stream is for teams that would like to focus on developing a scientific payload for a CubeSat, including teams that are new to space projects or have less experience in developing a CubeSat. Successful teams will be given the opportunity to build their capacity and acquire hands-on experience through the development of a scientific payload (engineering model (EM) level) compatible with a CubeSat platform. The CSA may provide access to recipients in Stream 1 to test their payload on an aircraft or a stratospheric balloon.

    Reasons to apply under Stream 1:

    1. Unique opportunity for the PI to engage their student team in a hands-on space project and acquire valuable experience otherwise difficult to obtain;
    2. Projects in this stream will be less complex than a full end-to-end CubeSat mission, and will have the financial support and guidance of the CSA (details in Section 6 and Section 7);
    3. Highly stimulating project for students to build CubeSat payloads, central to space missions and necessary for the satellites to achieve their intended mission objectives;
    4. Opportunity to participate in a test campaign on an aircraft or a stratospheric balloon;
    5. Great opportunity to build networks and exchange with other participating teams from across Canada and to learn from more advanced teams that participate in Stream 2;
    6. Teams that participate in Stream 1 could consider using the payloads that they will have developed as a strong starting component of a separate project funded under a future AO.
  • Stream 2: End-to-End CubeSat Project: This stream is for teams that have demonstrated experience related to the development of a CubeSat. Teams will have the opportunity to design, build and test a complete CubeSat through an end-to-end project. The project must involve the collection and analysis of science data. The CSA may provide an opportunity for recipients under Stream 2 to launch their CubeSat into space, which would enable teams to operate their satellite and conduct their science experiment in space.

    Reasons to apply under Stream 2:

    1. Unique opportunity to participate in an end-to-end real space mission and acquire valuable experience, with the financial support and the guidance of the CSA (details in Section 6 and Section 7);
    2. Highly stimulating project that could be launched into orbit through a launch opportunity procured by the CSA. Exceptional opportunity to operate the CubeSat and contribute in a meaningful way to the advancement of scientific knowledge and/or the development of new technologies;
    3. Great opportunity to build networks and exchange with other participating teams from across Canada and to mentor less advanced teams that participate in Stream 1.

To be eligible under either Stream 1 or Stream 2, it is mandatory that a project include the following elements:

  • Activities related to at least one (1) priority outlined in the Space Strategy for Canada (see Section 3.3). Priority may be given to projects that aim to contribute or solve a problem related to the fight against climate change;
  • A funding request that falls under one of the two identified streams described above (see Section 7.1 for further details):
    • Stream 1: up to $150,000 for a standalone scientific payload project, for a duration of up to two and half (2.5) years;
    • Stream 2: up to $350,000 for an end-to-end CubeSat project, for a duration of up to three (3) years, including the operation and the data collection and analysis phase, should the CubeSat be launched into orbit. Project proposals under Stream 2 must include the development of a CubeSat composed of two (2) or three (3) units (2U or 3U), the use of a payload during an operation phase, data collection and analysis;
  • A training plan that details the specific areas in which students will acquire expertise and skills. It is mandatory that all proposals include the participation of Canadian students from postsecondary institutions as follows:
    • Stream 1: At least five (5) Canadian students including a minimum of one (1) student from a science faculty, per semester for the duration of the project; or
    • Stream 2: At least ten (10) Canadian students including a minimum of two (2) students from one or more science faculties, per semester for the duration of the project;
  • A public engagement plan, complete with the specific activities that clearly highlight communications goals, tactics (tools) and target audiences;
  • For proposals submitted under Stream 2 (end-to-end CubeSat project): An attestation from the applicant confirming that they have sufficient capability in the following areas:
    • Ability to obtain licenses for required radio frequencies; and
    • Access to ground station facility or facilities.

Appendix B provides useful background information on CubeSat projects.

Please note:

  • For this AO, Canadian students include college students, undergraduate university students, graduate students (master's and doctorate levels) and postdoctoral fellows. The term "Canadian students" also refers to all students (including international students) that are registered in a Canadian university or post-secondary institution.
  • A project may not be eligible for funding if the applicant was previously awarded funding by the CSA for a similar project that is still underway. If the proposed project is directly or indirectly related to a project that is currently or was previously funded through a CSA AO or Request for Proposal (RFP), the applicant may still be eligible for funding as long as the proposed project activities are complementary in nature and do not overlap with those of the previously-funded project (see Section 4 of the application form).
  • An application related to a specific project must be submitted by only one eligible applicant (institution), who would be the only signatory of a grant agreement (a proposal submitted by several co-applicants will not be accepted).

3.3 Links to CSA Priorities

To be eligible, projects supported under this AO must contribute to at least one (1) CSA priority, as per the Space Strategy for Canada, by advancing scientific knowledge and/or developing new technologies in priority areas.

In addition, in line with the priorities of the CSA and Canada's involvement in the fight against climate change, this AO could prioritize projects that aim to increase our understanding of the causes and effects of climate change and/or that will contribute to fighting climate change.

3.4 Links to the Class G&C Program Objectives

To be eligible, projects supported under this AO must contribute to the achievement of at least one of the following objectives:

  • To foster the continuing development of a critical mass of researchers and highly qualified personnel (HQPs) in Canada in areas relevant to the priorities of the CSA;
  • To support the development of science and technology relevant to the priorities of the CSA.

4 SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

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The applicant must read the following section carefully and follow all of the steps in order to ensure their application is completed and submitted successfully.

4.1 How to submit an application electronically

  1. Download and complete the grant application form;
  2. Combine the following documents into a single PDF-formatted file, in the same order as below. In order to be considered complete, the application must contain the following:
    • A completed application form (Word, 532 KB) signed (with handwritten or digital signature) by the duly authorized representative;
    • A proposal that complies with the guidelines outlined in Section 7 of the application form and that includes a detailed implementation schedule for the project;
    • The résumé of the PI and of the Co-I(s), if applicable;
    • A letter of support from each Co-I (if applicable) confirming their intent to participate in the project and the nature of their participation;
    • For projects with an industrial partner, a letter of support confirming their intent to participate in the project and the nature of their participation;
    • Letters from other funding contributors confirming their contributions (if applicable);
    • Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information Act and Privacy Act form signed by the duly authorized representative (refer to the Applicant Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information Act and Privacy Act section included in the application form);
    • For organizations in Quebec, M-30 Supporting Documentation form completed and signed by the duly authorized representative (refer to the M-30 form included in the application form).

    The following document may be required upon request:

    • A copy of the document(s) confirming the legal name of the applicant.

    The application must be prepared as a single PDF-formatted file containing all of the above requested documents with all security features disabled. The proposal and supporting documents must be included in the file as searchable PDF-formatted documents (PDF/A-1a or PDF/A-2a formats preferred). If there are any accessibility issues with the submitted PDF file, all consequences reside with the applicant.

    It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application complies with all relevant federal, provincial/territorial and municipal laws and regulations.

    The applicant must keep one hard copy of all the original documents above. At any time, the CSA may require applicants who successfully passed the evaluation stage described in Section 5 of the AO to send a hard copy of their complete application with the original documents.

  3. Submit the completed application electronically:
    • Submit an account creation request using the Electronic Proposal Portal. Please note that Google Chrome is the browser of choice for submissions. The Microsoft Edge browser is also supported.
    • In the "Proposal title" field of the Electronic Proposal Portal, please use the following formatting standard: CUBICS _Stream (1 or 2)_Name Of Institution_Last name of PI (e.g. CUBICS _1_InstitutionName_Smith).
    • In the "Organization" section, under "Type," please select "Canadian university or postsecondary institution."
    • The "Applicant" section should contain the contact information for the PI.
    • Allow up to 72 hours for the CSA to send an e-mail confirming the account creation as well as instructions (user guide) on how to access the platform. It is strongly recommended that the account creation request be submitted no later than .
    • Using the temporary password assigned by the CSA, login to the secured portal to upload protected documents.
    • Please refer to the user guide for instructions on how to securely upload documents.

Please note:

  • Applicants using the electronic portal are encouraged to create their account no later than , to allow for potential technical difficulties. If technical issues cannot be resolved, applicants must submit their application by mail. Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload their complete application well before the submission deadline;
  • Applications must be submitted (successfully uploaded) by the applicants no later than , at 1:00 p.m. (ET).
  • The onus is on the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and that all documents are uploaded on the Electronic Proposal Portal within the prescribed deadline;
  • The CSA is not responsible for any delays under any circumstances, and will refuse applications that are received after the stipulated deadline;
  • Hand-delivered applications will not be accepted;
  • Applications sent by e-mail will not be accepted;
  • Applicants are asked to not send their application both electronically and by mail or courier service. If multiple applications are submitted, only the latest valid version received will be considered;
  • Incomplete applications may not be considered.

Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the FAQ Section of this AO (see Section 10). The CSA will not answer questions received after .

4.2 How to submit an application by mail or using a recognized courier service

The applicant is encouraged to submit their application electronically following the instructions provided in Section 4.1 of the AO. However, if the applicant is unable to submit their application electronically, please communicate with stim-stem@asc-csa.gc.ca no later than , at 1:00 p.m. (ET) to obtain instructions on how to submit a paper application by mail or using a recognized courier service.

Applications by mail or using a recognized courier service must be received at the CSA no later than , at 1:00 p.m. (ET).

The onus is on the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and that all documents are received by the CSA within the prescribed deadline. The CSA is not responsible for any delays under any circumstances, and will refuse applications that are received after the stipulated deadline.

4.3 Service Standards – Complete Applications

Applicants will be notified in writing of decisions regarding their application. Selected applications will be proactively divulged on the Open Government website. The CSA has set the following service standards for processing times, acknowledgement of receipt, funding decisions and payment procedures.

Acknowledgement of receipt: The CSA's goal is to acknowledge receipt of proposals within two (2) weeks following the AO's closing date.

Decision: The CSA's goal is to respond to the application within fifteen (15) weeks of the AO's closing date and to send a grant agreement for signature within four (4) weeks after formal approval of the proposal.

Payment: The CSA's goal is to issue payment within four (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 EVALUATION

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5.1 Eligibility Criteria

Applications will first be submitted for an eligibility assessment to verify whether they comply with the following criteria:

  • The applicant is an eligible recipient as defined in Section 3.1;
  • The proposed project is an eligible project as defined in Sections 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4;
  • The application complies with the funding provisions of the program stated in Section 7.1.

5.2 Evaluation Criteria

Once the eligibility assessment is completed, applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria. The onus is on applicants to address these explicitly in their application.

  • Benefits for Canada and outcomes;
  • Feasibility and risks; and
  • Resources.

Table 1 below shows the criteria, sub-criteria and associated thresholds, while Table 2 shows a brief description of the graded criteria. A detailed breakdown of all of the evaluation criteria is described in Appendix C. To be considered eligible for funding, the total score obtained for these graded criteria must be 65/100 or greater.

Table 1: Summary table of evaluation criteria
Sub-Category Maximum points for evaluation Minimum points to pass Poor Average Good Excellent
1. Benefits for Canada and outcomes 45 29
1.1 Proposed project 10 - 0 3 6 10
1.2 Training plan 25 - 0 8 17 25
1.3 Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) 5 - 0 1 3 5
1.4 Public engagement 5 - 0 1 3 5
2. Feasibility and risks 30 20
2.1 Project plan and schedule 15 - 0 5 10 15
2.2 Project-related risks and mitigation strategies 15 - 0 5 10 15
3. Resources 25 16
3.1 Project team 15 - 0 5 10 15
3.2 Budget, funding, physical resources and infrastructure, support from industry and other stakeholders 10 - 0 3 6 10
TOTAL 100 65
Table 2: Definition and breakdown of evaluation criteria
Category (weighting in %) Sub-Category Minimum points to pass Maximum points for evaluation
1. Benefits for Canada and outcomes (45%) 1.1 Proposed project
This criterion is used to evaluate the scientific and/or technical merits of the proposed project (payload for projects under Stream 1 and end-to-end CubeSat for projects under Stream 2), and its probable impact and potential to advance scientific knowledge and/or to enable the development of new technologies in priority areas, as per the Space Strategy for Canada. Priority may be given to projects that aim at increasing our understanding of the causes and effects of climate change and/or that will contribute to fighting climate change.
6 10
1.2 Training plan
This criterion assesses the quality, relevance and diversity of the experience that the students will acquire (excluding the support and guidance that the CSA may provide). The expected impact of the experience, knowledge and professional skills to be acquired by the students will also be evaluated.
17 25
1.3 Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
This criterion evaluates whether the proposal includes a meaningful EDI plan to foster recruitment and engagement of members from underrepresented groups, in particular women and Indigenous Peoples, within the project team.
3 5
1.4 Public engagement
This criterion evaluates the nature, breadth, relevance, feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed activities, as detailed in the public engagement plan.
3 5
2. Feasibility and risks (30%) 2.1 Project plan and schedule
This criterion is used to evaluate the clarity and completeness of the proposal, in particular the project plan, and the feasibility of the proposed project. This criterion is also used to evaluate the likelihood that the project will be completed on schedule.
10 15
2.2 Project-related risks and mitigation strategies
This criterion is used to evaluate the applicant's analysis of the main risks associated with the project, as well as the mitigation strategies for each risk.
10 15
3. Resources (25%) 3.1 Project team

This criterion evaluates the quality and relevance of the project team (PI, Co-I(s), confirmed students (if applicable), and collaborators willing to provide in-kind contribution), and the adequate allocation of these resources to each specific project task. It also assesses the recruitment strategy of the student team members and the level of involvement in the project of a science faculty from the same or a different postsecondary institution. The CSA highly recommends that PIs recruit student team members early enough to be able to start projects immediately upon the signature of the grant agreement. Collaboration between postsecondary academic institutions is also highly recommended.

For Stream 2 only: This criterion also evaluates the skills of key team members (e.g., PI, Co-I(s) and/or other core team members), their combination of expertise and previous achievements related to the development of CubeSats as factors that will contribute to the likelihood that their CubeSat successfully passes all progress and safety reviews to meet all launch requirements.

10 15
3.2 Budget, funding, physical resources and infrastructure, support from industry and other stakeholders
This criterion is used to evaluate whether the planned budget is adequate to achieve the project's objectives. It also takes the project's various sources of funding into consideration. It is also used to evaluate the timely availability of physical resources (e.g., equipment, and/or instruments) and infrastructure (e.g., laboratory and/or ground station (for Stream 2)).
6 10

5.3 Evaluation Process

Only applications that have passed the eligibility assessment listed in Section 5.1 will be given further consideration.

Once the eligibility criteria are confirmed, evaluators will assess the screened applications according to the criteria listed in Section 5.2 and described in more details in Appendix C. The evaluators will include experts in the fields relevant to the proposals. Evaluators may include representatives of the Government of Canada and of other countries, as well as representatives of other governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. If applicable, a multidisciplinary evaluation committee will be formed to evaluate interdisciplinary applications.

An application must receive an overall minimum score of 65%, as well as achieve the minimum thresholds specified in Table 2, in order to be deemed eligible for funding.

Before a final decision is made, the CSA's program manager responsible for this AO may seek input and advice from other organizations, including municipal, provincial, territorial and federal governmental agencies and organizations.

A selection committee made up of CSA experts may carry out a strategic overall selection based on CSA and Government of Canada priorities, such as:

  • Alignment with the priorities of the CSA and of the Government of Canada;
  • Regional geographic distribution;
  • Diversity among universities and postsecondary institutions;
  • Representation of PIs who identify as a woman and/or an Indigenous Person.

6 ROLES OF THE CSA

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In addition to awarding grants to the selected applicants, the CSA intends to provide technical guidance and mentorship to all participating teams (Stream 1 and Stream 2) and may provide access to certain CSA infrastructure such as laboratories and test facility. The CSA may also provide access to test campaigns (Stream 1) and launch opportunities (Stream 2) for teams whose payload or CubeSat project has met all of the requirements for a flight aboard an aircraft or stratospheric balloon, or for Stream 2, launch into orbit.

Any collaboration that may be offered to recipients is at the entire discretion of the CSA and will be evaluated on a case-by-case by the CSA, based on different criteria, such as the type of project, the progression of the project, financial evaluation and facility availability. This section provides an overview of the intended roles of the CSA.

Please note:

6.1 Technical guidance and mentorship from the CSA

The CSA may provide guidance to the selected recipients to ensure that the teams gain as much knowledge, skills and expertise as possible through their participation in CUBICS. The objectives of providing such guidance are to maximize the teams' overall learning experience by:

  • Optimizing their acquisition of knowledge of space missions;
  • Fostering opportunities for collaboration and networking among participating teams, with industry and with the CSA;
  • Guiding the teams during questions or technical challenges;
  • Supporting the teams to ensure that their payload or CubeSat complies with regulations (e.g., radio licenses) and sharing best practices (for example, orbital debris, launch safety);
  • Inspiring participants to pursue a career in the space sector through the acquisition of practical knowledge that will increase their level of employability.

Participating teams will have the opportunity to submit their technical questions to the CSA's technical experts. These questions may serve as the basis for activities such as:

  • Webinars;
  • Videoconferences;
  • Regional design review meetings, coinciding with Preliminary and Critical Design Reviews (PDR and CDR), to which the teams of a given region may be invited to attend, and during which the CSA technical experts may make presentations and provide guidance on technical questions. These sessions may offer opportunities for teams to share their challenges and proposed solutions under the guidance of CSA technical experts and network with other teams; and
  • National workshop(s) with a focus on hands-on training (e.g. electronics assembly) at the CSA.

In addition to the above activities, the CSA may provide training documents that teams could find useful when designing and building their payload or CubeSat.

Please note:

  • Teams under Stream 1 and Stream 2 may attend all activities mentioned above. Teams under Stream 1 are also welcome to attend activities related to CubeSat design, build, launch and/or operations as observers, as a unique opportunity to acquire knowledge for their academic and professional development.
  • The intention behind the activities listed above is to create collaborative mechanisms to assist all teams in achieving their project goals. The CSA values collaboration between teams as one of the most important vehicles to maximize student knowledge, skills and expertise. Teams will be strongly encouraged to support and assist each other in a non-competitive environment.
  • Each team will be entirely responsible for the execution and success of their project. Under no circumstances will the projects be those of the CSA, and all final decisions related to the realization of the payload or the CubeSat will rest with the beneficiaries. The CSA will in no way be responsible or liable for the success or failure of any of the CUBICS projects nor will it be liable for damages caused or sustained by either party or by any third party.

6.2 Access to a suborbital flight opportunity (Stream 1)

As stated in Section 3.2 of this AO, recipients under Stream 1 may obtain the access to a test campaign from the CSA, and have their payload fly aboard an aircraft from the National Research Council Canada (NRC)'s fleet (possibly in Ottawa, Ontario) or on a stratospheric balloon (in Timmins, Ontario), depending on the functionality and purpose of the payload. To be eligible, each team responsible for the development of a payload under Stream 1 of this AO will have to deliver a Safety Data Package to the stratospheric balloon or aircraft payload manager. An assessment will then be performed to ensure that the payload meets all the requirements for a safe flight. The test campaign would occur approximately two (2) years after the issuance of the grants to the recipients.

Also, it should be noted that any access to a suborbital flight is at the entire discretion of the CSA. Projects will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, which could include but not be limited to a financial evaluation, facilities availability and suborbital flight availability.

6.3 Access to Launch Opportunities (Stream 2)

As stated in Section 3.2 of this AO, recipients under Stream 2 may have the unique opportunity to launch their CubeSat into space, operate their satellite for up to a maximum of twelve (12) months and conduct their scientific experiment and/or validation of their science-related technology development from space. The CSA intends to procure launches for eligible CubeSats only. To be eligible, each CubeSat funded under this AO will have to successfully meet certain requirements, including but not limited to the following:

  • Meet all of the launcher's interface design and safety requirements in a timely manner (requirements will be confirmed subsequently to selected recipients);
  • Obtain the appropriate licenses for all required radio frequencies in a timely manner; and
  • Have access to ground station facility or facilities.

Also, it should be noted that any access to a launch opportunity is at the entire discretion of the CSA. Projects will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, which could include but not be limited to a financial evaluation, facilities availability and launch availability.

Two types of orbits are currently being considered by the CSA. It is recommended that the proposals submitted under this AO be developed considering one of the following two types of orbits:

  1. International Space Station (ISS) orbit: Nominal orbit at 400 km altitude and 51º inclination; or
  2. High inclination orbit: Nominal orbit at 400-500 km altitude and sun-synchronous inclination.

The CSA intends to launch eligible CubeSats approximately two (2) years after the issuance of the grants to the recipients. As such, grant recipients under Stream 2 must aim at completing their CubeSats (including having obtained the appropriate radio frequency licenses and having implemented or confirmed access to a ground station facility or facilities) within two (2) years after their project start date. The implementation schedule in the applicants' proposal under Stream 2 must reflect this timeline.

The CSA will be the liaison with the launch service provider(s). As such, the CSA will ensure that all integration requirements identified by the CUBICS teams are made known to the launch service provider(s) just as all the requirements demanded by the launch service provider(s) are made known to the CUBICS teams. No CUBICS team is to liaise directly with the launch service provider(s).

7 FUNDING

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7.1 Available Funding and Duration

Transfer payments will be made through grant agreements. The total funding available under this AO is currently expected to be approximately $3.4 million. The two (2) funding categories are:

  • Stream 1: Maximum grant of $150,000 for a payload project, over a maximum period of up to two and a half (2.5) years;
  • Stream 2: Maximum grant of $350,000 for an end-to-end CubeSat project (2U or 3U), over a maximum period of up to three (3) years. Proposals under Stream 2 must include the development of a CubeSat, the use of a payload during an operation phase, data collection and analysis.

For this AO, the CSA intends to fund up to four (4) projects under Stream 1 and up to eight (8) projects under Stream 2. However, the overall number of grants awarded and their value can vary, are at the entire discretion of the CSA, and could depend, for example, on the availability of funds and the results of the evaluation process.

Given the objectives of this AO and the limited available budget, an eligible recipient (Canadian university or postsecondary institution) may submit multiple applications; however, if two or more applications are submitted with the same designated PI, the CSA reserves the right to select only one of these projects. An eligible recipient may submit only one application for the same project.

The CSA reserves the right to reject any proposals or reduce the amount of the grants at its entire discretion.

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.

To determine the amount of funding that it will allocate, the CSA will take into account the availability of CSA funds, the total cost of the project, and other confirmed sources of funds provided by other stakeholders and the applicant. The CSA reserves the right to reject any application or reduce the amount of the grants at its entire discretion.

Applicants 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 recipient must also disclose all sources of funding.

7.2 Eligible Costs

Eligible costs are direct expenses that are associated with the delivery of the approved project and that are required to achieve the expected results of the project. Expenses will be covered, subject to the applicant signing a grant agreement with the CSA.

Eligible costs for a grant under this AO are the following:

  • Access fees;
  • Accommodation and meal allowances;
  • Acquisition, development and printing of materials;
  • Acquisition or rental of equipment;
  • Bursaries;
  • Consultant services;
  • Costs for carrying out environmental screening and/or impact studies;
  • Costs related to obtaining security clearance;
  • Data acquisition;
  • Data management;
  • Laboratory analysis services;
  • License and permit fees;
  • Marketing and printing services;
  • Materials and supplies (including payload or satellite components and hardware);
  • Overhead (administrative) costs (not to exceed 15% of eligible costs);
  • Participation fees at conferences, committees and events;
  • PST, HST and GST net of any rebate to which the recipient is entitled and the reimbursement of any taxes for goods and services acquired in a foreign country net of any rebate or reimbursement received in the foreign country;
  • Publication and communication services;
  • Registration fees;
  • Salaries and benefits paid to eligible students and postdoctoral fellows;
  • Translation services;
  • Travel expenses.

Please note:

  • The CSA intends to offer annual in-person workshops that may be hosted at the CSA's John H. Chapman Space Centre located in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. Each team may send a maximum of two (2) students to attend each of these workshops. Since the CSA aims to promote approaches that increase the representation and advancement of underrepresented populations in space STEM disciplines, teams that send at least one woman and/or one Indigenous Person as part of their delegation could send up to three (3) students. The onus is on the applicant to secure the funding associated with the travel expenses related to the attendance of these workshops and to coordinate the logistics (e.g., number of attendees) with the CSA.

7.3 Other Funding Sources

The CSA expects applicants to secure funding from other sources to support student training and other expenses related to their project, including student salaries, to ensure that students who are employed to work on projects are adequately compensated for their efforts (particularly those who do not work on projects as part of their coursework). For projects that include an industrial partner, Mitacs may be an appropriate organization to obtain funding for student internships. Applicants are encouraged to consult the Mitacs website for further information and to apply.

8 FUNDING AGREEMENTS

On this page 8

8.1 Payments

The CSA and each successful applicant (the recipient) will sign a funding agreement. This 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 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 the G&C Program – Research Component, and inform the CSA in writing of any changes to the conditions used in determining their eligibility for this component.

8.2 Audit

The recipient of a funding agreement shall keep proper records of all documentation related to the funded project, for the duration of the project and for six (6) years after the completion date of the project, in the event of an audit. This documentation shall be available upon request.

8.3 Conflict of Interest

In the funding agreement, the recipient will certify that any current or former public office holder or public servant they employ complies with the provisions of the relevant Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, respectively.

8.4 Intellectual Property

All intellectual property developed by the recipient in the course of the project shall vest in the recipient.

8.5 Organizations in Quebec

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., c. M-30).

Under Sections 3.11 and 3.12 of this Act, certain entities/organizations, as defined in the meaning of the Act, such as municipal bodies, school bodies, or public agencies, must obtain authorization from the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC), as indicated by the Act, before signing any funding agreement with the Government of Canada, its departments or agencies, or a federal public agency.

Consequently, any entity that is subject to the Act is responsible for obtaining such authorization before signing any funding agreement with the Government of Canada.

Quebec applicants must complete, sign and include the M-30 Supporting Documentation form with their application.

8.6 Performance Measurement

The CSA will ask the recipients to report on certain elements in their projects, such as the following:

  • Increased capacity:
    • Project research team (including students and postdoctoral fellows (PDFs) involved). Note that the grant recipient may be asked to provide the names of the research team members, including the students and PDFs.
  • Creation of knowledge:
    • Advancement of knowledge (including technological breakthroughs, technologies leading to a higher level);
    • Production of knowledge (including publications);
    • Presentations (including conferences, seminars, workshops and other outreach activities);
    • Intellectual property (including patents) generated by the project.
  • Collaboration:
    • Partnerships;
    • Contribution of partners;
    • Multidisciplinarity.

Recipients will also be required to inform the CSA in advance of important public announcements (for example, press or news releases of interest to the media) resulting from work related to this AO.

8.7 Open Access Publications

In the event that publications result from the project, the CSA wishes to promote the dissemination of findings that result from the projects it funds as quickly and to the greatest number of people as possible. Improved access to scientific results not only allows scientists to use a broader range of resources and knowledge, but also improves research collaboration and coordination, strengthens citizen engagement and supports the economy.

The CSA promotes the use of open access publication and archiving by recipients in order to facilitate the widest dissemination of findings that result from its funded projects. Thus, recipients are invited to publish their articles in a timely manner by using one of the following methods:

  1. Accessible online repository (institutional or disciplinary) so that the publication is freely accessible.
  2. Journal offering open access to articles.

It should be noted that these two methods are not mutually exclusive and that recipients are encouraged to use both.

Finally, the CSA wishes to receive a courtesy copy of the publications (if not freely accessible) or hyperlink (if freely accessible) and its digital object identifier (DOI). These will be used to improve accessibility by including them in the CSA publications directory.

9 PRIVACY NOTICE STATEMENT

The CSA will manage and protect the information provided by applicants under the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. By submitting personal information, the applicant consents to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Privacy Statement, which explains how the information on applicants is handled.

This information is collected under the authority of the CSA Class Grants and Contributions Program in Support of Awareness, Research and Learning - Research Component (ASC PPU 045) and Awareness and Learning Component (ASC PPU 040). This information will be used for administrative purposes and for the evaluation of applications. Personal information (such as name, contact information and biographical information) will be stored for six (6) years, then destroyed. Under the Privacy Act, any individual, upon request, may (1) have access to their personal data, and (2) have incorrect information corrected.

Applicants shall also note that information relative to the funding agreement could be disclosed publicly in accordance with the laws, policies and directives of the Government of Canada.

For additional information regarding this statement, please contact:

Office of Access to Information and Privacy
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: 450-926-4866
E-mail: aiprp-atip@asc-csa.gc.ca

10 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.

For any questions related to this AO, applicants shall use the following e-mail address: stim-stem@asc-csa.gc.ca. Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the FAQ section of this AO. The CSA will not reply to questions received after .

Question 1: The AO stipulates that each team may send students to attend annual in-person workshops that could be hosted at the CSA's John H. Chapman Space Centre. The AO also indicates that the onus is on the applicant to secure the funding associated with the travel expenses of the students. Are these expenses an eligible cost under this AO?

Answer 1: Yes. As per Section 7.2 of the AO, expenses such as accommodation and meal allowances as well as travel expenses are considered eligible costs.

Question 2: Salaries and benefits paid to eligible students and postdoctoral fellows are eligible expenses. Is there a limit on these expenses in terms of percentage of the total CSA grant value?

Answer 2: No. Salaries and benefits paid to eligible students and postdoctoral fellows are not subject to any restrictions in terms of a maximum percentage of the total CSA grant value.

11 APPENDIX A – List of Acronyms

AIT:

Assembly, Integration and Testing

AO:

Announcement of Opportunity

BOM:

Bill of Materials

CCP:

Canadian CubeSat Project

CDR:

Critical Design Review

Co-I:

Co-Investigator

CUBICS:

CubeSats Initiative in Canada for STEM

EMC:

Electromagnetic Compatibility

FRR:

Flight Readiness Review

G&C:

Grant and Contribution

GAC:

Global Affairs Canada

HQP:

Highly Qualified Personnel

ISED:

Innovation, Science & Economic Development

ISS:

International Space Station

KOM:

Kick-Off Meeting

MCR:

Mission Concept Review

PDR:

Preliminary Design Review

PI:

Principal Investigator

PM:

Project Management

RF:

Radiofrequency

STEM:

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

TVAC:

Thermal Vacuum Chamber

12 APPENDIX B – Background Information on CubeSats and CubeSat Payloads

On this page APPENDIX B

The objective of this appendix is to provide relevant information on CubeSats and key considerations to assist applicants with formulating their proposals.

B.1 Technical Considerations

  1. Components: A space mission can only be accomplished by a functioning CubeSat bus and by the successful operation of the onboard payload.
    • For this AO, the payload will be a scientific instrument or a technology used to conduct a scientific experiment. The complexity of the payload depends on the type and the nature of the information or data that the mission intends to collect. Designing a payload shall also take into account requirements like battery power management, data storage and downlink as well as controlling software.
    • As a minimum, a CubeSat bus has the following four key subsystems:
      • Structure: the frame that holds the modules as well as the solar arrays;
      • Power: includes the battery and power conversion and management unit;
      • Communications: the radio for communicating with the ground; and
      • Control and Command: the processor that handles all aspects of the proper functioning of the CubeSat bus and the payload.
    • The ground segment consists in a ground station that is used to command, monitor and communicate with the CubeSat in orbit, and to receive data from the payload. The two basic components required are a radio and an antenna.
    • Operations must be planned in advance and detailed in an operating plan that includes all the activities related to the operations of the CubeSat once in orbit. Operating a CubeSat is subject to several orbital and communication constraints depending on the orbit, which must also be considered in the CubeSat development and operating plan.
  2. Form Factor: CUBICS (Stream 2) accepts proposals for 2U or 3U with physical size and mass as follows:
    Table 3
    Form Factor Dimensions (cm) Mass (Kg)
    (for ISS launch only)
    2U 10 × 10 × 20 3.6
    3U 10 × 10 × 30 4.8
  3. Orbit altitude and inclination: The CSA intends procure the launches for eligible CubeSats under Stream 2. The proposals must be developed considering one of the following two types of orbits:
    1. Nominal orbit at 400 km altitude and 51º inclination corresponding to an ISS orbit; or
    2. Nominal orbit at 400-500 km altitude and sun-synchronous inclination (high inclination orbit).
  4. The CubeSat batteries should maintain charge for a minimum of six (6) months from time of integration into the deployer to time of deployment in space.
  5. The CubeSat shall remain in a full power off condition until thirty (30) minutes after deployment. Only an onboard timer system can be turned on immediately after deployment (if it is for a launch from the ISS).
  6. Pyrotechnics devices shall not be permitted in CubeSats to be launched from the ISS, if the launch service provider selected by the CSA would use such platform to put in orbit the CubeSats.
  7. Components that can be detached or fragmented shall not be allowed.
  8. Deployable mechanisms for antennas, arrays or booms will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  9. The CubeSat shall be required to pass three Progress/Safety Reviews before being accepted for launch.
  10. Each CubeSat shall include a minimum of two mechanical inhibits that prevent the CubeSat from being turned on accidentally (three if the launch is from the ISS).

B.2 Build versus Buy

It is currently possible to purchase some or all CubeSat subsystems, and even to purchase a turnkey solution that includes the CubeSat bus and the payload (for end-to-end projects). While such an approach reduces risks and shortens project schedule, it potentially offers fewer learning opportunities for students, and comes at a higher cost. That being said, a turnkey or partial turnkey solution can be a more attractive option for applicants with limited experience and/or expertise with satellite design and fabrication or for those involving more junior students.

While building a CubeSat from basic materials may appear to be a cheaper option, it requires experienced spacecraft engineers to supervise the student team and may incur other unexpected costs. The increased technical challenges typically yield greater STEM learning opportunities when the work is performed by students.

B.3 Suggested Technical and Scientific Disciplines for Team Members

Table B-1 represents a typical CubeSat project team structure based on experiences of CubeSat building teams. The structure for a payload team is similar to the CubeSat team. The differences between the two are highlighted in the table. Short team descriptions are also presented in the sections below the table.

Table B-1 Typical CubeSat Project Team Composition
Role Assignment Responsibilities
Principal investigator (PI) Teacher / Professor Responsible for the budget, is the interface with the CSA, and assigns responsibilities to team members. The PI could also take the role as the project manager (PM) or use this opportunity to train a student to be the PM.
Co-investigator(s) (Co-I) Teacher / Professor Supports the PI in all responsibility areas. Since the Co-Is can be from different postsecondary institutions, it is essential that the PI and Co-I(s) maintain regular communications.
Project Manager (PM) Teacher / Professor with 1 Student Although the PI should be in direct contact with their team members to ensure optimal training, the PM (if a student takes this role) may be a conduit between the PI and the team for ad hoc communications. It is essential that the PM collaborate with all the team leads. The key responsibility is monitoring the progress of the work packages (WP) as well as planning the schedule and budget.
Team lead 1 student per team There should be a team lead for the following aspects:
  • Science (Stream 1 and 2)
  • Electrical (Streams 1 and 2)
  • Mechanical (Streams 1 and 2)
  • Software (Streams 1 and 2)
  • Software (Streams 1 and 2)
  • Systems (Streams 1 and 2)
  • Public Engagement (Outreach) (Streams 1 and 2)

Each team lead is responsible for the delivery of the assigned WP.

Team member 1-5 students per team It is recommended that each team be assigned a minimum of one team member in addition to the team lead. This will ensure a backup in each key activity.

Please note:

  • While it is possible for a student to play more than one role on the team, it is not recommended. What is most important to the project is that each member shall understand their role(s) and responsibilities right from the beginning. The team size depends on the experience of its members with space projects. CSA recommends a size of 5-10 students for Stream 1 and 10–20 students for Stream 2. Teams shall be composed of students from different cohorts to facilitate knowledge transfer if some team members graduate during the project.

B.3.1 Science

The science team is a pillar of the project team, that is meant to be interdisciplinary, when it comes to tackling complex scientific questions. It is responsible for ensuring that the intended science objectives of the proposal are achieved through the payload or the CubeSat project, by contributing to the mission development, implementation and validation. The science team should involve at all times student(s) from a science faculty.

B.3.2 Electrical

The electrical team looks after the power subsystems, onboard computer (OBC), interface board, attitude control subsystem, harness, circuit board design and manufacturing (or procurement) and assembly as well as electrical systems integration and testing.

B.3.3 Mechanical

The mechanical team looks after the satellite structure manufacturing and assembly (including solar panels), deployment mechanism, thermal design, inhibits design and installation as well as all bill of materials (BOM). Some previous CubeSat projects (not related to this AO nor to CCP) have failed the final/progress safety review when the satellite structure could not fit smoothly into the deployer. The importance of the mechanical subsystems must not be overlooked.

B.3.4 Software

Although most of the CubeSat hardware can be purchased as a turnkey solution, turnkey software solution is not feasible. Each CubeSat has its own unique payload and hardware. The software team is responsible for writing and testing codes to ensure proper functioning from ground to space and from space to all subsystems onboard the CubeSat.

B.3.5 RF Communications

The RF communications team is responsible for the design of the communication subsystem including the antenna design. It is typically the team responsible for setting up the ground station and determining the operations schedule.

B.3.6 Systems

The systems team is responsible for defining and tracking the requirements of the project. It is also the responsibility of the system team to define all of the testing required, the mechanical ground support equipment (MGSE) and the electrical ground support equipment (EGSE). It supports every team in requirement definition and validation and, as such, works closely with every team. Students will gain experience in systems engineering.

B.3.7 Public Engagement

Each team is responsible for developing a public engagement plan that outlines how it will raise awareness of the project with the general public. The plan should include communications objectives and activities that will be developed and undertaken to achieve these objectives, as well as target audiences. Examples of public engagement activities include (but are not limited to): web content, social media activity, reaching out to the media, public presentations, and presentations to students (elementary, high-school or peers). These activities are effective tools in stimulating interest among students and the general public, but also a learning opportunity for students involved in CUBICS to develop communication skills that will serve them throughout their careers, such as experience in speaking in front of audiences and learning to communicate complex concepts to different audiences. Teams are encouraged to include students from Communications departments, and to coordinate their activities with their institution's Communications, Public Affairs or Media Relations units, as appropriate.

B.4 Development Time

There are certain factors that influence the development time of a payload or CubeSat. A few of them are listed below:

  • Team experience with space projects: a payload or CubeSat can be built successfully only if the development guidelines are followed and milestones are respected;
  • Complexity of the payload or CubeSat: as the satellite size becomes larger, there is more volume and power generated. The tendency is then to put in multiple payloads or a more complex payload. Consequently, building a 3U CubeSat is typically more difficult than building a 2U CubeSat. The same logic applies for the payload.
  • Build versus buy: Several CubeSat suppliers sell components as well as turnkey CubeSats. Buying commercial-off-the-shelf components offers the advantage of a shortened development time.
  • The need for testing: a CubeSat is not retrievable once it is launched. Thorough testing is primordial to the success of a satellite project. As such, it is important to allocate sufficient time in the schedule for testing each subsystem, especially for a larger or more complex CubeSat.

Projects under Stream 1 (standalone scientific payload projects) should be completed within two and a half (2.5) years or less, including the test campaign (if applicable), while projects under Stream 2 (end-to-end CubeSat projects) should be completed within three (3) years or less, including the operation phase of the CubeSat (if applicable), data collection and data analysis.

As per Section 6.2, the CSA may fly eligible payloads (Stream 1) approximately two (2) years after the issuance of the grants to the recipients. Similarly, as per Section 6.3, the CSA may launch eligible CubeSats (Stream 2) approximately two (2) years after the issuance of the grants to the recipients.

Table B-2 presents the timeframe planned for each stream. The CSA highly recommends that PIs recruit student team members early enough to be able to start projects immediately upon the signature of the grant agreement.

B.5 Licensing Requirement

The use of RF requires close coordination to avoid unwanted interference and unauthorized usage that can jeopardize public safety. In Canada, the coordination is managed by the Directorate of Spectrum Management and Telecommunications within Innovation, Science & Economic Development (ISED). Communications with a satellite also necessitates an operations license from ISED. The procedures are fairly complex for first-time applicants, but ISED prepared a useful (and still relevant) reference document for CCP teams, entitled "Guidance in preparing licence applications for projects funded through the CSA's Canadian CubeSat Project".

All CubeSats that carry an instrument or payload that falls within the definition of Remote Sensing Space System (defined as one or more remote sensing satellites, the mission control centre including other facilities used to command and operate the satellites, and the facilities used to receive, store, process or distribute raw data from the satellites, even after the satellites are no longer in operation) are required to apply for a license under the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act (RSSSA). The enforcement of the RSSSA is the responsibility of Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

B.6 Mission Ideas

Swartwout, Associate Professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering at Saint Louis University (Missouri, United States) maintained until an online database of the university CubeSat missions that he classified broadly into four categories: T-class, S-class, C-class and E-class. They are defined as follows:

  • T-Class: mission that has the goal of testing a new satellite component, subsystem or a new technique;
  • S-Class: mission that carries a scientific payload for gathering science data in an area of research;
  • C-Class: mission that provides communications service such as using the satellite as an amateur radio repeater; and
  • E-Class: mission that has the primary focus of providing a training opportunity for students of building and operating satellites.

In fact, the majority of university CubeSats fits into multiple categories. Information on the projects of the teams selected under the CCP AO is available online, while samples that highlight a variety in space mission ideas are also available in Tables A-2 and A-3 of the previous CCP AO.

B.7 Design and Test Reviews

Design and test reviews are essential to the success of every satellite project. They consist of meetings during which the teams present the progress of their project and the results of tests conducted on their CubeSat (Stream 2) to the CSA review team. The responsibility of the CSA review team is to assess whether there is any design issue and whether the progress satisfies the milestones. The end-goal is that the CubeSat meets all the safety requirements of the launch provider (Stream 2), hence maximizing the probability of its launch into space. As such, each CubeSat funded under Stream 2 of this AO will have to successfully pass all design and test reviews, as well as meet other requirements, including but not limited to those outlined in Section 6.3, to potentially gain access to a launch opportunity and be placed into orbit.

For Stream 1, even if the payload is not anticipated to be launched into space at the end of the project, the CSA expects the payload to reach a maturity level sufficient to be integrated into a platform such as an aircraft or a stratospheric balloon for demonstration.

NASA Systems Engineering Handbook is a comprehensive guidebook on design reviews that includes a full list of deliverables for reviews. For CUBICS, the CSA has adjusted the requirements for design and test reviews to be commensurate with a typical college/university payload or CubeSat project. The project stages associated with each design and test review are described in the subsections below, while Table B-2 presents the timeframe planned for each of these stages. It also compares the timelines between a standalone scientific payload project (Stream 1) and an end-to-end CubeSat project (Stream 2).

B.7.1 Mission Concept Review (MCR)

At MCR, each CUBICS team will have to answer these questions:

  • Is the mission objective and the payload planned to be used still the same as those mentioned in the proposal?
  • Are there any significant project changes since the proposal was written?
  • What is the plan for the satellite operation? (Stream 2 only)

The MCR is an in-house activity in which all team members should participate.

B.7.2 Preliminary Design Review (PDR)

As the name suggests, PDR is an opportunity for the CUBICS teams to present the preliminary design of their payload or CubeSat. The key expectations from the review team are as follows:

  • The complete list of components of the payload or of the CubeSat;
  • The layout of the components in the CubeSat (Stream 2 only);
  • An analysis that demonstrates that the requirement on power, mass and volume will be met;
  • Concept for the CubeSat onboard or payload operations software development;
  • Updated schedule and detailed work breakdown structure (WBS); and
  • BOM that conforms with NASA flammability and off-gassing requirements (Stream 2 only & for an ISS launch only).

Each team should plan to have a minimum of one individual attend the PDR, with a typical team representation being 3 to 5 individuals.

B.7.3 Critical Design Review (CDR)

In the CDR, the role of the review team is to ensure that the payload (Stream 1) or CubeSat (Stream 2) is ready for manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing (AIT). The reviewers will focus on:

  • Detailed design of each subsystem;
  • Requirements verification and compliance matrix;
  • Examination of electrical circuit, harness and the handling of battery;
  • Location of inhibits and separation springs in the design;
  • The assembly, test and integration plan of the payload or CubeSat; and
  • The test procedures of the payload or complete CubeSat.

Each team should plan to have a minimum of one individual attend the CDR, with a typical team representation being 3 to 5 individuals.

B.7.4 Vibration and Environmental Tests (Stream 2 only)

Teams will, at a minimum, be required to have their assembled CubeSat vibration-tested. Depending on the launcher selected, teams may be asked to carry out additional tests such as TVAC or EMC.

For the vibration and TVAC tests, any recognized facility is acceptable. Those wishing to call upon the services of the David Florida Laboratory (DFL) in Ottawa should note that the CSA cannot provide this service as part of this AO. If teams require such services, they must plan for such an expense in their budget.

The CSA will require the testing facility to forward a copy of the test results for its review and approval.

Upon review of the vibration tests, the CSA will provide feedback to each team regarding their respective test results. In the event of a test failure, a strategy regarding how to move forward will be discussed and agreed upon.

B.7.5 Demonstration Readiness Review (DRR) (Stream 1 only)

The DRR serves as a final milestone for Stream 1. The review will focus on:

  • Verification and validation of payload requirements;
  • Laboratory test results that demonstrate that the expected performance in space is achievable.

B.7.6 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) (Stream 2 only)

The CSA intends to procure the launch service capacity for eligible CubeSats. If a launch opportunity is confirmed, the launch service provider will use the FRR to confirm that the completed CubeSats meet all the safety requirements. As a minimum, the following will be required:

  • Fit check report that confirms all dimensions are within the specifications of the launch service provider;
  • Vibration test report that confirms that the CubeSat meets the vibration requirement; and
  • Battery test report that confirms safe operations of the battery;
  • Mass property.

Again, depending on the launcher selected, additional test reports might be required by the launch provider.

Each team should plan on having a minimum of one (1) individual attend the FRR, although 2 to 3 representatives would be better.

Table B-2 Planned Schedules and Meeting Locations
Project Stage Phase Standalone Scientific Payload Project (Stream 1) End-to-End CubeSat Project (Stream 2) Location
Mission Definition A 2 months 2 months
MCR Milestone KOM + 2 months KOM + 2 months Local
Preliminary Design B 6 months 6 months
PDR Milestone KOM + 8 months KOM + 8 months SeeTable Note(1)
Detailed Design C 7 months 7 months
CDR Milestone KOM + 15 months KOM + 15 months SeeTable Note(1)
AIT D 8 months 8 months
Vibration and/or Environmental Tests D KOM + 23 months KOM + 23 months SeeTable Note(2)
DRR Milestone KOM + 24 months N/A SeeTable Note(2)
FRR Milestone N/A KOM + 24 months CSA
(St-Hubert)
Suborbital Demonstration (Stream 1) Milestone TBD N/A TBD
Launch (Stream 2) Milestone N/A TBD TBD

13 APPENDIX C – Scoring

On this page APPENDIX B

A numerical score is associated with each criterion. It is strongly recommended that applicants include in their applications information related to each highest score. Applicants are asked to also refer to the information provided in Section 7 of the application form.

C.1 Benefits for Canada and outcomes

  • Maximum: 45
  • Minimum: 29

C.1.1 Proposed project

This criterion is used to evaluate the scientific and/or technical merits of the proposed project (payload for projects under Stream 1 and end-to-end CubeSat for projects under Stream 2), and its probable impact and potential to advance scientific knowledge and/or to enable the development of new technologies in priority areas, as per the Space Strategy for Canada. Priority may be given to projects that aim at increasing our understanding of the causes and effects of climate change and/or that will contribute to fighting climate change.

For Stream 2 only: Projects are required to involve the collection of science data that aim at enhancing students' learning through a real science-driven project.

  • Does the project present a probable impact and/or the potential to advance scientific knowledge and/or to enable the development of new technologies that would contribute to advance space science knowledge in priority areas as per the Space Strategy for Canada?
  • Is the project original?

Evaluation Source: Proposal

Poor: The proposal does not discuss how the project could contribute (Stream 1) or will contribute (Stream 2) to the advancement of scientific knowledge and/or to the development of technologies that would contribute to advance space science knowledge in priority areas, as per the Space Strategy for Canada.
or
The information provided does note cover key information and details. The probable impact and potential to advance scientific knowledge and/or to enable the development of new technologies that would contribute to advance space science knowledge in priority areas, as per the Space Strategy for Canada, is expected to be negligible. (Score: 0)

Average: The proposal discussions how the project could contribute (Stream 1) or will contribute (Stream 2) directly or indirectly to space science and/or the development of technologies that would contribute to advance space science knowledge in priority areas, as per the Space Strategy for Canada. The supporting information provided is inadequate with key information and details missing. The contribution to science advancement and/or technology development that would contribute to advance space science knowledge is assessed to be low. (Score: 3)

Good: There is a good discussion on how the project could contribute (Stream 1) or will contribute (Stream 2) directly or indirectly to space science and/or to the development of technologies that would contribute to advance space science knowledge in priority areas, as per the Space Strategy for Canada. The supporting information is adequate with all key information provided except for minor details that are missing. The contribution to science advancement and/or technology development that would contribute to advance space science knowledge is assessed to be medium. For Stream 2, the proposal involves the collection of science data. (Score: 6)

Excellent: There is a detailed discussion on how the project could contribute (Stream 1) or will contribute (Stream 2) directly and indirectly to space science and/or the development of technologies that would contribute to advance space science knowledge. The supporting information is complete with all key information and details provided. The contribution to science advancement and/or technology development that would contribute to advance space science knowledge is assessed to be high. For Stream 2, the proposal involve the collection of science data, which could significantly contribute to advance space science knowledge. (Score: 10)

C.1.2 Training plan

This criterion assesses the quality, relevance and diversity of the experience that the students will acquire through the proposed training plan (excluding the support and guidance that the CSA may provide). The expected impact of the experience, knowledge and professional skills to be acquired by the students will also be evaluated.

  • Does the training plan specify the activities in which the students will participate during the project?
  • Do the training activities suit the academic level of the students involved in the project?
  • What is the involvement of the students in the project?
  • What is the expected training value of the proposed project?
  • Does the plan include information on the method(s) that will be used to supervise the students?
  • What are the planned contributions of the trainers (PI and Co-I) to the trainees?
  • Will the students gain knowledge and experience that is relevant to the development of their professional careers, and will the CUBICS project provide a stepping stone to the students to higher education in STEM or future employment opportunities in the space sector?

Evaluation Source: Proposal

Poor: The training plan is poorly defined and contains few details on the activities in which the students will participate, and on the distribution of tasks. (Score: 0)

Average: The training plan is partially defined and details are missing on the activities in which the students will participate, and on the distribution of tasks. Overall, the activities suit the academic level of the students involved in the project (undergraduate, Master's, PhD, etc.). There is little information provided on the method(s) that will be used to supervise the students. (Score: 8)

Good: The training plan is well designed and provides detailed information on the activities in which the students will participate, and on the distribution of tasks. The activities suit the academic level of the students involved in the project (undergraduate, Master's, PhD, etc.). The methods for supervising the students are described and suited to the work to be carried out. Detailed information is provided on the knowledge and skills that the students may acquire. (Score: 17)

Excellent: The training plan is well designed and describes in great detail the activities in which the students will participate, and on the distribution of tasks. The activities suit the academic level of the students involved in the project (undergraduate, Master's, PhD, etc.). The methods for supervising the students are clearly described and well suited to the work to be carried out. Significant and detailed information is provided on the knowledge and skills that the students will acquire and the impact on the students. The students will gain knowledge and experience that may lead to higher education in STEM or future employment opportunities in the space sector. (Score: 25)

C.1.3 Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

This criterion evaluates whether the proposal includes a meaningful EDI plan to foster recruitment and engagement of members from underrepresented groups, in particular women and Indigenous Peoples, within the project team.

  • Does the research project meaningfully engage members of underrepresented groups within the research team through the engagement of students, PDFs, faculty and partners? Underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, the four designated groups (women, Indigenous Peoples, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities). Applicants can consult the Employment equity website for definitions of each group.

Evaluation Source: Proposal

Poor: The proposal does not describe any particular measure to facilitate the diversity of the team. (Score: 0)

Average: The proposal contains a diversity inclusion plan. The description of how this plan will be achieved lacks details. (Score: 1)

Good: The proposal contains a diversity inclusion plan. The description of how this plan will be achieved is mostly complete and the approach appears feasible. (Score: 3)

Excellent: The proposal contains a diversity inclusion plan that is fully described, with detailed information on how it will be achieved. The proposal demonstrates a high likelihood that members from underrepresented groups will be integrated in the project team. (Score: 5)

C.1.4 Public engagement

This criterion evaluates the nature, breadth, relevance, feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed activities, as detailed in the public engagement plan.

Evaluation Source: Proposal

Poor: The proposal does not include a public engagement plan or the public engagement plan misses all the key information and their associated details. There is no information on the budget and student resources. There is little likelihood of achieving success with the proposed outreach activities. (Score: 0)

Average: The public engagement plan lacks details and is missing key information, such as proposed activities, targeted audiences and the variety of promotional tools being envisaged. The proposal provides no or poor justification as to why the proposed budget and student resources will be sufficient to support the outreach activities. The planned outreach activities will be limited to the institution itself. (Score: 1)

Good: The public engagement plan is detailed but some minor information is missing, such as details on proposed activities, on target audiences and on the variety of planned promotional tools. The proposal provides limited justification as to why the proposed budget and student resources will be sufficient to support the outreach activities. The planned outreach activities will cover at least one institution and/or organization other than the applying institution within the province or territory. (Score: 3)

Excellent: The public engagement plan is detailed and includes all relevant information on the proposed activities, the targeted audiences and the variety of promotional tools to be developed to communicate the team's project. The proposal provides full justification as to why the proposed budget and student resources will be sufficient to support the outreach activities. The planned outreach activities will target several institutions and/or organizations within the province or territory. (Score: 5)

C.2 Feasibility and risks

  • Maximum: 30
  • Minimum: 20

Project plan and schedule

This criterion is used to evaluate the clarity and completeness of the proposal, in particular the project plan, and the feasibility of the proposed project. This criterion is also used to evaluate the likelihood that the project will be completed on schedule.

  • In light of the proposed project plan included in the proposal, are the objectives realistic?
  • Is the project clearly described?
  • Is there a high probability that the work will be carried out on schedule and within budget?

Evaluation Source: Proposal, Detailed implementation schedule

Poor: The proposal does not include a project plan or the project plan provided is clearly insufficient as most of the expected information is either missing or severely lacking in its level of details. The plan also indicate no schedule margin. The time commitment of the PI and Co-I (if applicable) is not indicated. (Score: 0)

Average: The proposal includes a project plan that only covers some of the required information such as work packages, resource allocation for each work package and schedule. The plan also indicate a schedule margin that is insufficient. The time commitment of the PI and Co-I (if applicable) is inadequate. (Score: 5)

Good: The proposal includes a project plan and a detailed implementation schedule that have most of the expected details such as work packages, resource allocation for each work package and schedule. There is a high probability that the work described will be completed on schedule. The time commitment of the PI and Co-I (if applicable) is acceptable. (Score: 10)

Excellent: The proposal includes a solid and credible project plan and a detailed implementation schedule complete with all the details regarding work packages, resource allocation and schedule. There is an excellent probability that the work described will be completed on schedule. The time commitment of the PI and Co-I (if applicable) is clearly adequate. (Score: 15)

C.2.2 Project-related risks and mitigation strategies

This criterion is used to evaluate the applicant's analysis of the main risks associated with the project, as well as the mitigation strategies for each risk. The purpose of this analysis evaluation is to determine the feasibility of the team being able to complete the project within the proposed time and budget.

The applicant must carry out an in-depth risk analysis (financial, managerial, environmental, scientific and technical risks). Detailed information must be provided on the availability of resources and risks associated with their non-availability and on mitigation strategies for these risks.

A risk analysis table must be included in the proposal or in Section 8 of the application form. The following elements must be covered:

  • Access to a laboratory for payload or CubeSat AIT;
  • Student turnover;
  • Knowledge transfer;
  • Impact of inflation on the budget;
  • Component shortages;
  • If applicable, unconfirmed sources of funding and/or in-kind contributions;
  • Potential delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • If applicable, access to or approval to build a ground segment for operations.

The applicant must ensure the following questions are addressed:

  • Has the applicant identified and described in detail the risks associated with the project, including but not limited to, financial, managerial, environmental, scientific and technical risks (particularly access to financial, human and physical resources) and compliance with the project schedule?
  • Are the proposed mitigation strategies for each risk well thought out and realistic?
  • What is the probability of the risks materializing?

Note that the evaluation of the risk criterion will be based on whether all risks were identified, whether the impact and probability assessment is realistic, and whether mitigation strategies are appropriate. The project will not be penalized for having high risks or unconfirmed sources of funding, as long as the risks have been identified and mitigation strategies provided are appropriate.

Evaluation Source: Proposal, Section 8 of the application form (if applicable).

Poor: The application does not mention any of the main risks associated with the project, and does not contain any mitigation strategy, or includes some risks, but the associated mitigation strategies are missing. (Score: 0)

Average: The application mentions a few of the main risks and contains mitigation strategies for these risks. The risks are high that the project will not be completed as planned. (Score: 5)

Good: The main risks (e.g., financial, managerial, environmental, scientific, technical and access to a laboratory for AIT) and the associated mitigation strategies are described and relevant. Some information is provided to assess the probability of the risks materializing. It is possible to believe in good faith that everything will take place as planned during the period covered by this grant, or that in the case of unforeseen circumstances, the mitigation strategies considered will allow the project to be carried out. (Score: 10)

Excellent: The main risks (e.g., financial, managerial, environmental, scientific, technical and access to a laboratory for AIT) are well described, and relevant mitigation strategies are proposed for each risk. The information provided to assess the probability of the risks materializing are deemed to be realistic. It is possible to believe in good faith that the project will be completed as planned during the period covered by the grant, or in the case of unforeseen circumstances, the mitigation strategies considered will allow the project to be carried out. (Score: 15)

C.3 Resources

  • Maximum: 25
  • Minimum: 16

C.3.1 Project team

This criterion evaluates the quality and relevance of the project team (PI, Co-I(s), and confirmed students if applicable), and the adequate allocation of these resources to each specific project task. It also assesses the recruitment strategy of the student team members and the level of involvement of a science faculty from the same or a different postsecondary institution in the project. The CSA highly recommends that PIs recruit student team members early enough to be able to start projects immediately upon the signature of the grant agreement. In addition, collaboration between academic institutions is highly encouraged.

For Stream 2 only: This criterion also evaluates the skills of key team members (e.g., PI, Co-I(s) and/or other core team member), their combination of expertise and their previous achievements related to the development of CubeSats as factors that will contribute to the likelihood that their CubeSat successfully pass all progress and safety reviews to meet all launch requirements.

  • Has the project team demonstrated its capacity to manage and carry out similar projects?
  • Are the duties and responsibilities assigned to each project team member consistent with each member's experience and expertise?
  • Does the project team involve members with diverse skill sets diversity (engineers, communication experts and business-savvy individuals)?
  • Does the project team have demonstrated experience related to the development of a CubeSat? (Stream 2 only)
  • Is the team composed of individuals from different academic institutions?
  • Does the strategy for the recruitment of the student team members specifically addresses student turnover?

Please note:

  • PIs should strive for a healthy work environment on the project, and are asked to consider student workload issues when assigning tasks related to the project to their student team members.
  • PIs are permitted to invite others individuals from the same or from different postsecondary institutions to assist them by being their Co-Is.
  • Inter- and intra-province/territory collaboration is encouraged.
  • In evaluating the project team, the CSA reserves the right to take into consideration how the PI managed CSA-funded projects in the past, based on previous project proposals and their results, and on reporting accuracy and reliability.

Evaluation source: Proposal, résumés (Curricula vitae), letters of support from Co-I(s) (if applicable), CSA evaluations of the PI's previous progress and final reports (if applicable)

Poor: The project team members have very limited experience that demonstrates their capacity to manage and carry out a complex project. The level of involvement of a science faculty is considered as low. The proposal does not include a strategy for the recruitment of the student team members. (Score: 0)

Average: The project team members have some experience that demonstrates their capacity to manage and carry out a complex project. The team members may not have all of the appropriate expertise for the duties and responsibilities that may be assigned to them during the project. The level of involvement of a science faculty is considered as medium. The strategy for the recruitment of the student team members is weak and does not take into account student turnover. (Score: 5)

Good: The project team members have a variety of expertise, not necessarily related to CubeSats, that will enable them to undertake the proposed project. The team members have demonstrated their capacity to manage and carry out similar projects. The duties and responsibilities assigned to each team member are consistent with each team member's experience and expertise. The level of involvement of a science faculty is considered as high. The strategy for the recruitment of the student team members is good but does not specifically address student turnover. For Stream 2, the project team members have demonstrated experience related to the development of a CubeSat. (Score: 10)

Excellent: The project team members have an excellent variety of multidisciplinary expertise, not necessarily related to CubeSats, that will enable them to undertake the proposed project. The team members have clearly demonstrated their capacity to manage and complete similar projects. The duties and responsibilities assigned to each team member are consistent with each team member's experience and expertise. The team members from a science faculty will play a significant role in the project delivery. There are also individuals from different academic institutions playing an active role in the project. The strategy for the recruitment of the student team members is strong and specifically addresses student turnover. For Stream 2, the project team members have demonstrated experience related to the development of a CubeSat and its operation in a real or simulated environment. (Score: 15)

C.3.2 Budget, funding, physical resources and infrastructure, support from industry and other stakeholders

This criterion is used to evaluate whether the planned budget is adequate to achieve the project's objectives. It takes the project's various sources of funding into consideration. It is also used to evaluate the timely availability of physical resources (e.g., equipment and/or instruments) and infrastructure (e.g., laboratory and/or ground station (for Stream 2)).

  • Is the budget realistic and justified in relation to the proposed project?
  • Will the applicant make a financial contribution or a contribution in kind to the project other than the PI's salary?
  • Will other organizations participate in the project by making a financial contribution or a contribution in kind? Are the contributions described in the proposal and in Sections 11 and 12 of the application form clearly linked to the proposed project activities?
  • Will the physical resources planned for the project and the infrastructure be available in a timely manner?
  • Have details been provided regarding the access to the laboratory and/or the ground-based infrastructure that will be used to develop the payload or CubeSat, and to operate the CubeSat if it is put into orbit (Stream 2), including how the access will be granted and guaranteed?
  • If applicable: has sufficient information been provided regarding how the proper licenses will be obtained in order to launch the CubeSat?

Note: Considering that the grant is a fixed amount, recipients cannot expect an amendment for an additional sum. The recipient has the ultimate responsibility for any cost overrun.

Evaluation source: Proposal, Sections 11 and 12 of the application form, letter(s) of support from industrial partners (if applicable)

Poor: There is a clear mismatch between the planned budget and the work associated with the project. The main physical resources or infrastructure that should be required for the project are absent, and nothing indicates that the applicant has a plan for obtaining them. There is no contribution from the applicant (other than the PI's salary) or from other organizations. (Score: 0)

Average: Overall, the budget appears to be adequate for the proposed work and a reasonable rationale is provided, but there are still questions about some cost items. There are missing specifications concerning access to some physical resources and infrastructure. There is no contribution from the applicant other than the PI's salary. Other organizations participating in the project plan to make a financial contribution and/or a contribution in kind. (Score: 3)

Good: The budget appears to be adequate and reasonable for all components of the proposed work and particularly student travels. A good rationale is provided. The physical resources and infrastructure (including access to laboratory) required to achieve the project's goals and objectives are identified and supported by rationales, and their use is properly planned. However, there are still some uncertainties as to their timely availability. The applicant will make a financial or in-kind contribution in addition to the PI's salary. Other organizations participating in the project plan will make a financial or in-kind contribution. Only a few resources (including financial contributions and/or in-kind contributions,) have been obtained or confirmed to date. (Score: 6)

Excellent: The budget appears to be adequate and reasonable for all components of the proposed work and particularly student travels. A good rationale is provided. The physical resources and infrastructure (including access to laboratory) required to achieve the project's goals and objectives are identified in detail, supported by rationales, and planned in order to be used efficiently and effectively. The confirmed resources will be available in a timely manner. The applicant will make a financial or in-kind contribution in addition to the PI's salary. Other organizations participating in the project will make substantial financial or in-kind contributions. Most resources (including financial contributions and/or in-kind contributions) have been obtained or confirmed. (Score: 10)

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