Operating context - - Departmental Plan
Canada has a rich space heritage and an industrial base with niche capabilities —in space operations, satellite communications, space robotics, space-based radar, optical science instruments, as well as value-added Earth Observation (EO) and geospatial services.
New applications, players, and commercial opportunities
Many federal departments and agencies rely on space-based data and applications to deliver programs and services that meet key Government of Canada priorities and address uniquely Canadian challenges, and many others expect to do so in the near future. The RADARSAT satellites deliver EO data to monitor agricultural productivity, track ice in the North, detect pollution on our waters, and critically, provide the Canadian Armed Forces with imagery to support their mission. Satellites also monitor our environment and support science and evidence-based decision-making on climate change, water and resource management, and disaster management.
New opportunities are on the horizon for Canada in space. Around the world, space agencies are set on returning to the Moon and pushing onwards to Mars. Canada will participate on the Lunar Gateway—a project that will see humans return to the moon and set the stage for further exploration to Mars—through our contribution of the smart next-generation Canadarm3. Disruptive technologies have changed the economics of building, launching, and operating spacecraft, opening the frontier of space to new and lucrative commercial business activities. Launch costs are starting to fall and mass production of small satellites is taking place, bringing the promise of cheaper, more frequent access to space that much closer to reality.
The international agenda
For countries like Canada with smaller space programs, activities are often carried out in partnership with other space-faring nations, to share the costs and leverage capabilities. These partnerships are key to creating systems and satellites that can tackle some of the most pressing global issues such as climate change. To maximize those benefits, the CSA works through international collaborations and committees such as the Global Space Exploration Committee and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites. The CSA also works closely with NASA and builds on its unique partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) to leverage space investments as well as to maintain open access to European markets for Canadian space companies and academia. Targeted investments in key science and technology capabilities and flight heritage or demonstration opportunities ensure that the Canadian space sector remains relevant in a dynamic international context.
To fully develop its growth potential and seize opportunities to join international space projects, the Canadian space sector needs to keep pace with a fast-evolving context. The CSA will continue to support the development of people, science and innovative technologies while offering demonstration opportunities to build a more resilient, clean and inclusive economy that benefits all Canadians.
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