Qs & As – INDU Appearance
On this page
In this section
- What is the Mandate of the CSA?
- What is the Space Strategy?
- How much funding does the Space Strategy include?
- How many people work at the CSA and where are they located?
- What is CSA doing to address regulatory challenges in the space sector?
- Why do we invest in space?
- Does the CSA have any opinions about the newly formed U.S. Space Force?
- Does the CSA's Departmental Plan still stand considering the Federal budget hasn't been introduced?
- What was the CSA's involvement with JYS Technologies / CIS Scientific / Ishiang Shih / Yi-Chi Shih?
1. What is the Mandate of the CSA?
The mandate of the Canadian Space Agency is "
to promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians."
The CSA delivers on its mandate in collaboration with Canadian industry, academia, Government of Canada organizations, and other international space agencies or organizations.
The founding legislation that received Royal Assent in attributed four main functions to the CSA:
- Assist the Minister to coordinate the space policies and programs of the Government of Canada;
- Plan, direct, manage and implement programs and projects relating to scientific or industrial space research and development and the application of space technology;
- Promote the transfer and diffusion of space technology to and throughout Canadian industry; and
- Encourage commercial exploitation of space capabilities, technology, facilities and systems.
2. What is the Space Strategy?
Canada's Space Strategy - Exploration, Imagination, Innovation – was announced by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry on . The strategy aims to present a "
whole-of-government" direction and priorities for Canada's space program. It recognizes space as a strategic asset for Canada, where all of government works together so that Canadians can continue to rely on space to help meet national needs. The cornerstone of the Strategy is the commitment to joining the NASA's Lunar Gateway program by developing and contributing a smart robotic system – Canadarm3.
The development of the strategy was strongly influenced by the report of the Minister's Space Advisory Board, following cross-country consultations that it undertook in , as well as significant interdepartmental consultations with the key space "
The Strategy was released via the Minister's own authority as the Minister responsible for the CSA (and therefore ultimately responsible to coordinate the space policies and programs of the Government of Canada).
The Strategy is organized into five goals and 18 objectives:
- Ensure Canada remains a leading spacefaring nation by joining the Lunar Gateway mission
- Build the next-gen AI-enabled deep space robotic system
- Enable scientific opportunities and global partnerships
- Guarantee the future of our Astronaut Program
- Inspire the next generation of Canadians to reach for the stars
- Launch a national contest to recruit Canada's "
- Organize visits by astronauts and other inspiring speakers to schools across Canada
- Launch a national contest to recruit Canada's "
- Harness space to solve everyday challenges for Canadians
- Connect Canadians everywhere
- Enhance security and sovereignty
- Improve remote medicine and healthcare
- Enhance access to nutritious food
- Support future secure communications
- Position Canada's commercial space sector to help grow the economy and create the jobs of the future
- Create a modern regulatory framework
- Cement and expand our international partnerships
- Help our space firms start-up and scale-up
- Partner with industry to make investments and create jobs here in Canada
- Ensure Canada's Leadership in acquiring and using space-based data to support science excellence, innovation and economic growth
- Collect climate change data
- Prioritize future Earth observation capabilities
- Support excellence in data analytics
- Support space science to study Earth and beyond
3. How much funding does the Space Strategy include?
In the past, Canada has had long-term space plans which set out specific programs and associated funding. The Strategy is a departure from this previous approach, but does include, in addition to providing a guide for potential future investments, references to previously announced funding worth $2.6B since Budget . This includes:
- Budget : $379 million for Canada's continuation in the International Space Station until and $30 million for Canada's continued participation in the European Space Agency's Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems program
- Budget : $80.9 million for the CSA to support new projects and utilize Canadian innovations in space including the Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) mission.
- Budget : $100 million over five years for the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to invest in projects that relate to the development of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that support broadband connectivity. $85M of this has been awarded to Telesat to assist in the development of its Telesat LEO broadband telecommunications satellite system.
- Budget : The Government of Canada announced the creation of a $1.7B Universal Broadband Fund (UBF), which was created to help ensure every Canadian has access to high-speed internet at minimum speeds of 50/10 Mbps. Related to this announcement, the Government has committed to purchasing up to $600M worth of broadband services from Telesat LEO, as Telesat LEO is poised to offer affordable, high-speed broadband services across Canada once operational. Note, this $600M commitment is over and above the $1.7B announced as part of the UBF.
- Strategy commitment (): $1.9B to develop and contribute an advanced, next-generation, AI-enabled deep-space robotic system for NASA's Lunar Gateway project.
- Strategy commitment (); $150M for a new Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) over five years to help firms develop and demonstrate space technologies that will create new commercial opportunities in Canada linked to our participation in the Lunar Gateway mission.
4. How many people work at the CSA and where are they located?
As of summer , CSA's workforce was 660 employees.
- Occupational groups
The CSA's workforce is made up of a wide variety of occupational groups. Although engineers (EN) make up 37% of all employees, 24 different occupational groups are present at the CSA.
- Distribution of the workforce by region as of
CSA employees are primarily located (89.4%) at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Longueuil, Quebec. The remaining 10.6% are located in Ottawa (at David Florida Laboratory) or in Gatineau. Additionally, seven employees are on assignment outside the country, five in Houston at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), one in Washington and one in Paris.
- Official Languages
Employees working in Longueuil are 73% Francophone; this proportion falls to 21% for those located in Gatineau/Ottawa (was 32% in ).
5. What is CSA doing to address regulatory challenges in the space sector?
Though investments in Canada's space program are key to supporting a thriving space sector in Canada, there are additional factors that are impacting its competitiveness. CSA recognized, via the Space Strategy that there are gaps in Canada's existing legislative and regulatory regime for space activities and that these may be impeding the growth of new commercial space activities across the country and creates challenges for the GoC to provide appropriate oversight.
In recent years, Canada's allies, such as New Zealand, Australia and the UK have developed comprehensive legislative and regulatory frameworks as a means to foster their national commercial space industries. CSA, along with its partners, is examining whether we may wish to consider a similar approach, recognizing that it is a means of supporting innovation and growth.
The responsibility for space activities is spread across various departments (ISED for spectrum, GAC for remote sensing, TC for launch). NRCan also has an interest in space resource utilization given their responsibility for mining and the acknowledgement of space as a new frontier for the mining industry in the Canadian Minerals and Mining Plan. The CSA also has a legislated role to coordinate space policy across the Government of Canada and is therefore coordinating the development of policy approaches to address emerging issues, as per the Space Strategy
6. Why do we invest in space?
We apply what we learn from space to improve our lives on Earth. For example:
- Healthcare: exploring space and sending astronauts to the International Space Station and soon the Moon helps advance medical science. Space is hard on our bodies, and actually accelerates the ageing process. By studying how astronauts adapt to zero-gravity, scientists can advance our knowledge of a variety of health issues: ageing, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, and even the psychological effects of isolation and living in confinement.
- Technologies developed for space are being used in medical centres right now, for instance, robotic arms for neurosurgery and breast-cancer detection; and astronomy cameras that can detect cancer cells.
- Exploring how the delivery of healthcare services in isolated communities can be improved through lessons learned in space.
- Emergency management and security : Satellites are used to detect and manage critical events, including for events such as flood, forest fires, for the surveillance of oil spills from vessels.
- Environment: Canada owns and operates satellites that measure the impact of climate change, and monitor our environment, oceans and the air we breathe.
- Food production: systems that would be essential to sustainable human presence in space can also be used by Canada's remote and Northern communities.
- Investing in satellite communications technologies for broadband, including connectivity in rural and remote regions.
- Funding the development and demonstration of lunar science and technologies in fields that include artificial intelligence, robotics and health.
We were among the first to enter the space age and have maintained a global reputation for scientific and technological excellence and ingenuity.
Canada has internationally recognized competitive advantages in several different digital space technologies: space robotics, satellite communications, and earth observation sensors for gathering data about the Earth.
Canada's space sector has an ecosystem of talent and technology firms that drive our innovation efforts. This includes 200 space related firms and world leading Canadian universities and research centres that host and generate top talent in many disciplines.
Canada's space scientists are part of the cadre of global leaders in astronomy, planetary exploration, life sciences research and environmental sciences. Space provides the most exciting laboratory imaginable to inspire a new generation of Canadians in the pursuit of science, discovery, and technological advancement, foster a culture of innovation, and pursue an education in STEM.
7. Does the CSA have any opinions about the newly formed U.S. Space Force?
The CSA does not generally comment on domestic affairs of the United States of America, except in the scope of collaboration with NASA and other US agencies. As per the Canadian Space Agency Act, the CSA is in the business of promoting the peaceful use and development of space. The use of space to support defence activities is outside the scope of the CSA.
Responsibilities relating to the use of space capabilities for national security, sovereignty and defence rest with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces in the Canadian context.
8. Does the CSA's Departmental Plan still stand considering the Federal budget hasn't been introduced?
The Departmental Plan was published on .
The Government's financial cycle is a continuous process; there is no specific beginning and end to it. As part of this process, the Departmental Plan (DP) is part of the Estimates documents and outlines the spending plans in detail for the next three-year period against the results the department or agency expects to achieve. As such, the results the CSA expects to attain, with the resources provided (i.e. within existing reference levels) are outlined in the document.
The Federal Budget is a blueprint for how the Government wants to set the annual economic agenda for Canada. Should Budget entail any adjustments to CSA's priorities and plans outlined in the DP, the changes will be implemented through the use of the Government's budgetary cycle, and reported on in the Departmental Results Report (DRR).
9. What was the CSA's involvement with JYS Technologies / CIS Scientific / Ishiang Shih / Yi-Chi Shih?
CSA, like the rest of the Government of Canada, has in place rigorous security practices to protect sensitive and confidential information and to screen contractors.
We found 4 contracts supplied to CIS Scientific Canada Inc. between and . There was a total of $ 336,450.00 paid to CIS Scientific Canada Inc.
We cannot tell you specifically what these contracts were for as the Government of Canada retention schedule calls for contracts to be kept for only six years after the date of contract deliverable delivery.
We cannot comment further as this matter is before the courts at this time.
In this section
- What is the Agency's budget and why does it fluctuate YoY?
- Why does our budget not reflect recent funding announced?
- Does the Agency spend its authorities year over year (YoY)?
- How much does the agency transfer via O&M/contributions/grants to industry/academia/OGDs YoY?
- Why does Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) funding keep getting reprofiled?
- Considering the $68 M re-profile in the SUPPS B, what is the overall size of the RADARSAT investment?
- SUPPS B Request : Transfer from Fiscal Framework
- Transfers to Other Government Departments (OGDs)
- Votes Transfers
- Reprofiles (- to -)
- Items on SEB CRX-009 Report
10. What is the Agency's budget and why does it fluctuate YoY?
Given features of space business, multi‐year budgeting by vote leads to frequent re-profiling, multi-year vote changes and multi‐year cash management between initiatives. Such adjustments are essential to the sound management of the various initiatives under CSA's responsibility.
CSA is often required to make adjustments to its planned investments and/or spending allocations due to factors such as delays encountered in the implementation of space projects, cost increases in approved programs and projects, and programming modifications made by international partners. Space projects typically involve risks outside the control of the CSA since they are often internationally led with timelines that can fluctuate outside of CSA's control, involve multiple partnerships with industry, academia and other space agencies, and are based on cutting edge technologies.
Projects/missions require funding from different Votes depending on the phases (e.g. Pre and post project phases require O&M funds whereas the design and build phases call for the Capital funds.) In addition, the science support associated with some projects may necessitate funds either in O&M or in Grants & Contributions. In light of the above, having the funding in the proper votes to support the implementation of space projects often requires the CSA to seek approval of vote transfers.
Even if total CSA's budget since - varies between 421 M$ and 441 M$, CSA's A-Base has been stable since then and wavers around $260M; the balance are funds that are accessed further to funding announcements, re-profilings, etc.
(in thousands of dollars)
(in thousands of dollars)
11. Why does our budget not reflect recent funding announced?
The authority of Parliament is required before funds can be spent by the Government, more specifically before these funding announcements are included in CSA reference levels. Approvals are given in the form of annually approved limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes. In fact the CSA budget does not include all of the recent funding announced due to the fact that CSA must go through the aforementioned budget process to access any and all funding available and therefore before being included in CSA reference levels.
12. Does the Agency spend its authorities year over year (YoY)?
The specific nature of the Canadian Space Program confronts the CSA with issues related to the advanced technologies used in space missions as well as the international aspect of some projects. For Canada, activities in space must be carried out in partnership with other spacefaring nations, using innovative and cost-efficient technologies. The international nature and technical challenges associated with developing and implementing disruptive technologies, in collaboration with multiple partners, generate risks in the delivery of projects, and, therefore financial risks associated with the use of funds such as the deferral of funds and costs increases.
As per the table below, in reality, in the last 3 years ~1 % of CSA's total budget has lapsed and returned to the Government of Canada (consolidated revenue fund) and therefore no longer available for future use to support the space sector. However it is important to note that all other unspent funds have been treated via the mechanisms available to departments which allow these funds to be re-profiled to future fiscal years to align with cash flow requirements for the Canadian Space Program. These mechanisms include : operating budget carry forward, capital budget carry forward, etc.
C = A-B
F = C- (D, E)
13. How much does the agency transfer via O&M/contributions/grants to industry/academia/OGDs YoY?
|ESA||University||Industry||Individuals||Non profit org.||University||Industry|
14. Why does Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) funding keep getting reprofiled?
When looking specifically at RCM funding, most variations are due to the transition from its development and testing, two of its critical phases which involved most of the risks and spending, towards its launch and operations in .
Initial phases of a this project generally involved a more stable funding profile, however during the design and development phases, which are associated with higher risks and investments, certain delays were encountered with some of the milestones of the project which required CSA to re-profile funds YoY, in order to meet obligations related to milestones payments under the firm price contract between the Crown (PSPC on behalf of CSA) and the prime contractor for the RCM project (MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates – MDA).
15 . Considering the $68 M re-profile in the SUPPS B, what is the overall size of the RADARSAT investment?
The RADARSAT Constellation Mission was approved at Cabinet in . The total investment of $1.1 billion over 14 years (From FY / to FY /) is the total project cost for RCM.
16. SUPPS B Request : Transfer from Fiscal Framework
[REDACTED]. This is funding to support services and activities related to the extension of Canada's participation in the International Space Station (ISS) until , in accordance with international treaty obligations.
The CSA is requesting approval to access $42M of the $103M in ISS Common System Operations Costs (CSOC) funding remaining in the fiscal framework over 5 fiscal years (from - to -) to support services and activities that will offset Canada's CSOC obligations.
17. Transfers to Other Government Departments (OGDs)
Transfer from the Canadian Space Agency to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) (Industry) / Communications Research Centre (CRC): $200,000 in -.
Road works behind DFL: The work covers approximately 30,000 square feet of asphalt pavement, including new curbs and some pedestrian sidewalks. The objective is to complete this rehabilitation before the next winter season.
Transfer from the Canadian Space Agency (Capital budget) to Innovating, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) (Industry) / Communications Research Centre (CRC): $181,864 in -.
Shirleys Bay Campus: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) (Industry) / Communications Research Centre (CRC) is receiving funding from Partners for the provision of support services and shared capital improvements at the Shirleys Bay Campus. CSA's share is $181,864. This amount is to meet the CRC capital requirements to maintain Shirleys Bay Campus' infrastructure.
18. Votes Transfers
For CSA's Internal Stimulus proposals to support the space sector and stimulate the economy in response to COVID-19 – Transfer from Operating budget (O&M) to Grants and Contributions budget: $3,229,000
This vote transfer is part of a funding strategy linked to internal stimulus proposals, namely a series of short-term initiatives aiming at supporting the space sector and stimulating the economy in response to Covid-19: the Space Technology Development Program (STDP) ($2,948,000 in Contributions), Smarth Earth ($280,000 in Contributions) and Stedia ($101,000 in Grants).
The financial strategy developed aims at maximizing the use of funds voted for -, given the economic slowdown associated to Covid-19.
19. Reprofiles (- to -)
RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM): $67,664,971
Request for the reprofiling of $67,664,971 (including $59,866,637 for risk reserve) of capital funds from fiscal year (FY) - to FY - in order to meet obligations related to milestones payments under the firm price contract between the Crown (Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) on behalf of CSA) and the prime contractor for the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) project (MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates – MDA).
20. Items on SEB CRX-009 Report
Canadarm3 robotic system: $1,651,000 (including EBP)
Operating budget – Personnel : $1,300,000 & EBP: $351,000 (request as per TB Submission [REDACTED]
Space Sector Overview / General Space Qs
In this section
- What does the Space Sector look like in Canada?
- What are global market trends for the space sector more broadly?
- What are Canada's areas of strength in space?
- What is Canada's position in the global EO market?
- What are the Global market trends for EO?
- What is the CSA doing to support small and medium enterprises during these turbulent times? (Context: COVID-19)
- What has the CSA done to support the COVID-19 relief efforts?
- As satellite technology and space exploration has increased over the years, so has space debris. How does the CSA plan to deal with the threat space debris can pose to our critical infrastructure in space?
- Private companies, Such as SpaceX for example, are launching satellite constellations in order to deliver services such as internet to even the most rural parts of the world. Will these space debris mitigations curtail their efforts to provide reliable internet service to my constituents in rural areas?
- What is the CSA doing to support the Canadian Satellite Communication industry as foreign providers begin to posture themselves for the Canadian market?
21. What does the Space Sector look like in Canada?
The State of the Canadian Space Sector Report , which the CSA has been publishing since , provides the most comprehensive and authoritative data available on the Canadian Space sector, as well as long-term trend analysis on the economic activity generated in the sector. The report includes data on the number of organizations active in the sector and their composition, the sectors of activity, the Canadian space workforce and its composition, research and development (R&D), and innovation. The survey data is widely used by stakeholders and government officials.
The report is based on a questionnaire that is sent every spring to companies, not-for-profit organizations, research centres and universities with space-related activities in Canada. To align with international practices, the publication is identified by the year in which the survey took place (e.g. ), but covers data from the previous year (e.g. ).
The State of the Canadian Space Sector Report: Facts and Figures , which was published in is based on data from 174 organizations. Key highlights from the survey showed that in , the Canadian space sector:
- Generated $5.7B in revenues (stable compared to previous years)
- Contributed $2.5B to Canada's GDP
- Employed close to 10,000 people, of whom 61% were STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related employees, and indirectly supported 11,000 additional jobs in the wider economy
- Spent $356M in Business expenditures on R&D (BERD), from space companies.
22. What are global market trends for the space sector more broadly?
Economic opportunities in the space sector are set to increase considerably, as the global market is changing rapidly. Disruptive technologies and advancements have changed the economics of building and launching spacecraft – making space more accessible and opening the door to new business activities and new forms of partnerships.
Commercial space is now a key growing market. Where governments were once the sole architects of space activities, firms are now taking the lead in launching new space-based systems and services, attracting both public and private funding. This new space environment is creating jobs, enabling economic growth, and leading to socio-economic benefits in sectors as diverse as farming and clean tech.
The OECD has noted that "
Never before has there been so much interest in the space sector, with satellites in orbit registered in over 80 countries and ever growing public and private investments. Public space budgets reached an estimated USD 75 billion in (a figure expected to grow further in ) – their largest amount since the Apollo era in the 1960s". Most countries now realize the benefits that space technologies can provide them and public investment is chasing a dramatically expanding global market opportunity. According to Morgan Stanley, global space markets are expected to triple over the next 20 years to $1.1 trillion, offering opportunities to those willing to seize this opportunity to enhance the economic recovery, to create jobs, support economic growth/productivity, and drive innovation. Today, Canada has about a 1.3 percent share of this global market.
23. What are Canada's areas of strength in space?
Canada has internationally recognized competitive advantages in several different digital space technologies: space robotics, satellite communications, and earth observation sensors for gathering data about the Earth.
Canada's space sector has an ecosystem of talent and technology firms that drive our innovation efforts. This includes 200 space related firms and world leading Canadian universities and research centres that host and generate top talent in many disciplines.
Canada's space scientists are part of the cadre of global leaders in astronomy, planetary exploration, life sciences research and environmental sciences.
Space provides the most exciting laboratory imaginable to inspire a new generation of Canadians in the pursuit of science, discovery, and technological advancement, foster a culture of innovation, and pursue an education in STEM.
Today, the sector in Canada supports 10,000 direct jobs, and supports roughly the same amount elsewhere in the economy with a workforce multiplier of 2.18. 6000 of these space sector jobs are "
STEM jobs". Canada's space sector has an ecosystem of talent and technology firms that drive our innovation efforts. This includes 200 space related firms and world leading Canadian universities and research centres that host and generate top talent in many disciplines. Space companies spent over $350M on R&D. For space companies that manufacture, this means that R&D intensity is 11 times higher than the average for all of manufacturing in Canada.
Note, however, that Canada's civil space expenditures as a percentage of GDP have declined in the past 30 years. Among G7 nations, Canada was ranked 4th in spending on space as a share of GDP in , but by , having declined its share of spending (-67 per cent), Canada ranked last. Canada's civil space expenditures as a percentage of GDP are now 71 per cent below the G7 average, and 42 per cent below the OECD average.
24. What is Canada's position in the global EO market?
- While the global EO market is fairly small with estimates between US$3.5B to $3.7B, Canada is a significant player accounting for about 6% (around US$200M) of the global market in .
- Canadian Industry has strengths in EO but its market shares have been declining in the past 5 years, as competition is intensifying.
- Canada's EO industry revenues are highly concentrated within a few companies (i.e. MDA, Urthecast, ABB, C-Core, Honeywell, GHG-Sat).
- According to our Space Sector Survey, domestic EO revenues settled at CA $278M in , a decline of 29% compared to .
- Canada's EO sector revenues have declined by 46% since , which can be explained by the completion of the RCM satellites (for which GoC payments generated significant revenue in the sector on this $1.2B project) and the financial challenges encountered by Urthecast and other firms that are struggling in a globally competitive market.
25. What are the Global market trends for EO?
- According to the Space Foundation, the commercial Earth observation industry was estimated at US $3.45B in , up 3% from US $3.35B in .
- According to the Space Foundation, global EO revenues have grown by 50% between and .
- Looking forward, Northern Sky Research forecasts annual revenues to grow over $300 million in , and from $3.7 to $8.1 billion by , at a CAGR of 9.2%.
- According to EuroConsult, in , governments invested $9.8 billion in civil EO programs. Approximately 80 countries contributed to this investment, which represents a 1.4% increase over .
- On the commercial side, EuroConsult estimates that around $2 billion in private investment has come in to the EO sector in the last five years.
- Initially, investment looked towards new optical operators, such as Planet. Since then, there was a shift towards services companies, such as Orbital Insight and Descartes Labs.
- More recently, investors have looked towards new technologies: over $200 million for instance has been raised by hyperspectral companies; and over $100 million in SAR.
- In EO satellite manufacturing, during –, EuroConsult estimates 190 satellites (50 kg+) were launched for EO (excluding meteorology-specific satellites); the cost to develop these satellites generated $21.5 billion in manufacturing market revenues.
- During the next 10 years, nearly 900 EO satellites are set to be launched. This is estimated to generate close to $45 billion in revenues.
26. What is the CSA doing to support small and medium enterprises during these turbulent times? (Context: COVID-19)
The CSA, ISED and industry groups undertook surveys of industry throughout April and to understand what impacts the pandemic was having on the industry. The impacts on the Canadian space sector of the COVID-19 pandemic have been varied, with all firms reporting some impact to their operations, from difficulty maintaining positive cash flow and generating income to recruiting and retaining key talent. Among the key concerns raised by industry were:
- reduction in the industry's ability to seek, develop and close new business opportunities;
- drying up of investment opportunities (specifically raised by start-ups); and
- supply chain delays and disruptions.
The CSA quickly re-prioritized some of its investments in order to provide support to space sector firms to maintain their capabilities during the pandemic and be able to continue to conduct their work. The CSA increased, almost doubling, its planned short-term investments by $28M using existing resources through the Space Capacity Development funding programs (mostly G&Cs) to support the recovery of the Canadian space sector.
27. What has the CSA done to support the COVID-19 relief efforts?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is continuing to identify measures to address the public health and economic threats of the virus.
Beyond our increased investment in Canadian space enterprises, the CSA staff and facilities have been involved in the response to COVID-19 through the use of our 3D printing capabilities providing just over 250 parts for use in the assembly of face shields, later distributed to Montreal region hospitals.
The CSA continues to engage with the National Research Council (NRC) and other partners to understand how our technical expertise and facilities could be used as part of the federal, provincial and local response to COVID-19.
28. As satellite technology and space exploration has increased over the years, so has space debris. How does the CSA plan to deal with the threat space debris can pose to our critical infrastructure in space?
The CSA takes the issue of space debris very seriously. Collisions with satellites could prevent Canada from providing the data and services that we rely on to support global communications, the economy, security and defence, safety and emergency management, the environment and health.
The CSA is actively working with national and international partners to find solutions to manage space debris. This work is done in committees such as the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS). The newly signed Artemis Accords also stipulate that partner nations will agree to plan for the mitigation of orbital debris, including the safe, timely, and efficient passivation and disposal of spacecraft at the end of their missions.
At present, CSA contributes to international tracking and risk mitigation efforts. Routine tracking of space objects/satellites and collision avoidance maneuvers, as necessary, help manage and reduce risks associated with space debris.
29. Private companies, Such as SpaceX for example, are launching satellite constellations in order to deliver services such as internet to even the most rural parts of the world. Will these space debris mitigations curtail their efforts to provide reliable internet service to my constituents in rural areas?
Constellations bring several benefits from technology and economic standpoints but if not managed properly, they could contribute to increasing space debris. Nations and satellite operators alike need to take the threat of space debris seriously as it can create serious damage to operational equipment or in-space collisions. The CSA will continue to collaborate with international partners and monitor the situation to help prevent and mitigate risks.
30. What is the CSA doing to support the Canadian Satellite Communication industry as foreign providers begin to posture themselves for the Canadian market?
Canada was the third nation with communication satellites in space and the first to establish a domestic satellite communication system for distribution of TV and telephony on a national basis.
More recently, the CSA committed to continue taking part in important international collaborations in order to build on Canada's strengths and develop the space industry sectors capabilities in this area. This included a $30 million investment in Budget which allowed Canada to participate in the European Space Agency's Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems program.
With a vibrant commercial satellite communications industry and ecosystem now in place, CSA maintains a satellite communications activities to support further research and development, provide policy-related technical advice and for specialized needs by other government departments.
Broader ISED Messaging on Space and Investment
In this section
- What investments have been made in the space sector by the Strategic Innovation Fund?
31. What investments have been made in the space sector by the Strategic Innovation Fund?
Making sure that Canada is a top destination for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs and prosperity for Canadians is one of the Government's top priorities. The Strategic Innovation Fund's (SIF) objective is to spur innovation for a better Canada by providing funding for large projects (over $10 million in requested contribution).
The program serves to simplify application processes, accelerate processing, and provide assistance that is more responsive and focused on results.
The program has invested $113M in space companies to date. This includes:
Advantech Satellite Networks (now Spacebridge) - $11.5M contribution from SIF on a total project value of $29M to support the development of next-generation terminals and hubs for faster and higher-capacity broadband networks that allow data to be transmitted more efficiently across networks, leading to significantly lower network costs
NorthStar - $9.5M from SIF on a total project value of $51M. An additional $3.5M came from CEDQ. These funds will allow Northstar to produce better satellite images which will improve the forecasting and tracking of events on Earth such as forest fires, rising sea levels and oil spills. In space, NorthStar will introduce a new, more efficient and effective way to protect space assets by tracking space debris, which can pose a threat to satellites.
Telesat - $85M from SIF on a total project value of $488M to build and test innovative technologies for its low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation.
ExactEarth - $7.2M from SIF on a total project value of $14.4M which will allow the company to update its existing satellite network and to develop and integrate big data analytics into its services.
The predecessor to SIF, the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, also supported UrtheCast (not counted in above total).
UrtheCast - $17.6 million in funding for the ongoing development of UrtheCast's planned constellation of Earth Observation satellites, known as the OptiSAR Constellation.
Regional Investments and Space Activity
In this section
- General Messaging
- What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Western region of Canada? (British Columbia, Alberta)
- What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Central region of Canada? (Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
- What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Eastern region of Canada? (Ontario, Quebec)
- What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Atlantic region of Canada? (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Price Edward Island)
- What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Northern region of Canada?
32. General Messaging
The CSA prides itself on including Canadian partners from coast to coast within and throughout the supply chain for major investments. For example, over 125 Canadian companies in seven provinces contributed to the RCM project led by MDA, the Canadian Space Agency's prime contractor for this mission.
33. What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Western region of Canada? (British Columbia, Alberta)
The CSA prides itself on including Canadian partners from coast to coast within the supply chain for major investments. For example, the Canadarm2 and RADARSAT Constellations were both primed by MDA which maintains significant operations in British Columbia.
34. What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Central region of Canada? (Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
The CSA prides itself on including Canadian partners from coast to coast within the supply chain for major investments. For example, the Canadarm2 included the support of Wardrop Engineering Inc in Manitoba and SEC Systems Inc in Saskatchewan and RADARSAT Constellations included the support of Magellan Aerospace in Manitoba who provided the main satellite "
bus" which contained the various systems and payloads needed to operate the system.
35. What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Eastern region of Canada? (Ontario, Quebec)
The CSA prides itself on including Canadian partners from coast to coast within the supply chain for major investments.
For example, the Canadarm2 included the support of CAE, FRE Composites and MDA in Quebec and Noatronics, CAL and Northstar Aerospace in Ontario.
The RADARSAT Constellation included the support of 16 Canadian companies across Quebec and Ontario including F.J. Machine Shop, C&R Developpment, CMR Summit Technologies. MDA, Mecachrome, Apex Precision, JLM, Sonaca, Atellier d'usinage Pierre Fortier Inc. in Quebec and COM DEV, Hi-Rel Alloys, Filtran, Wejay, ITL Circuits, FTG and A-Line/Muru in Ontario.
36. What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Atlantic region of Canada? (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Price Edward Island)
The CSA prides itself on including Canadian partners from coast to coast within the supply chain for major investments. For example, the Canadarm2 included the support of IMP Group in Nova Scotia.
The RADARSAT Constellation included the support of Bradeans Tools and Die, MDA, IMP Group and STELIA Aerospace in Nova Scotia.
37. What investments has the CSA made to support industry in the Northern region of Canada?
There are some exciting investments being made in the Northern region of Canada in relation to the work we do here at the CSA. For example, the CSA has partnered with a community greenhouse project in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut to do research on food production in harsh climates.
The Naurvik greenhouse is a hydroponic sea can station where community technicians have been growing vegetables since last fall. The same technologies the community is using now will help scientists learn how to grow fresh food more efficiently for astronauts, and potentially even on the moon in the future.
Another example of the CSA's support in the North is the Canadian CubeSat Project which features teams from each province and territory getting the opportunity to design, build, launch and operation their own miniature satellite. Once tested and ready for space, the CubeSats will be launched to and deployed from the International Space Station in . Teams based in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon are all participating in this fantastic opportunity.
In this section
- What is the Lunar Gateway and what is its purpose?
- How is the Lunar Gateway different from the ISS?
- The US administration recently announced plans to land Americans on the Moon by . Is Lunar Gateway needed if the US wants to go straight to the Moon?
- What is Canada contributing to the Gateway?
- When will Canada's smart robotic system be delivered ?
- How much will Canada's contribution to the Gateway cost?
- How did we select robotics as Canada's contribution? Were other contributions considered as well?
- What are the anticipated benefits of participating in the Gateway and lunar program?
- The European Space Agency just signed an agreement with NASA on the Lunar Gateway. When will the CSA sign an agreement with NASA for the Gateway?
- What is the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), and what will be the amount of the investment?
- Is LEAP time limited? What happens after five years?
- What is the value of the Gateway and LEAP for Canadian science? How is this science different from what we currently do on the ISS?
- Does Canada's contribution to the Gateway mean that Canadian astronauts will get to fly to the lunar orbit? How about setting foot on the Moon?
- How is the Government going to ensure that investments in the Gateway are going to benefit Canadian industry more broadly, and not just MDA?
- Does Canada's involvement in the Gateway mean that the International Space Station will abandoned? What is the plan for the ISS beyond ?
- Why is the Canadian Space Agency investing in healthcare? What are the benefits?
- Will Canadian industry benefit from investments in health and medical care for space?
- What are the Artemis Accords?
- Did Canada work with the United States on the Artemis Accords?
- Why has Canada signed on to the Artemis Accords?
- Why is Canada conducting consultations on the Artemis Accords?
- What is Canada's policy/position around lunar operations and space resource utilization?
- How is Canada ensuring / how will Canada ensure that the Canadian space industry is positioned to benefit from the rapidly evolving and growing opportunities in space?
- Why does Canada participate in the ISS?
- What is the Osiris-REx Mission and what is Canada's involvement?
- What is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and what is its purpose?
- How is Canada contributing to the JWST?
- What is the current status of the JWST?
38. What is the Lunar Gateway and what is its purpose?
The Lunar Gateway is a small outpost orbiting the Moon that will serve as a science laboratory, a testbed for new technologies, a rendezvous location and mission control centre for exploration to the surface of the Moon, and a stepping stone for voyages to Mars.
The Lunar Gateway is part of the U.S.-led Artemis program and includes partners from the International Space Station (Canada, U.S., European Space Agency, Japan, Russia). It represents the next phase in human space exploration and is the natural evolution of Canada's highly successful partnership in the International Space Station (ISS).
39. How is the Lunar Gateway different from the ISS?
The ISS partners are taking space exploration to a new level. Deep space exploration is far more costly, complicated and challenging than what has been achieved to date in Low-Earth-Orbit. The ISS is 109 metres wide, can house up to seven astronauts on a permanent basis, and orbits the Earth at an average altitude of 400km. In comparison, the Gateway will be much smaller at about one-fifth of the size of the ISS, can house up to four astronauts for 30 day periods, and is much further from the safety of our planet at approximately 400,000km from Earth.
40. The US administration recently announced plans to land Americans on the Moon by . Is Lunar Gateway needed if the US wants to go straight to the Moon?
The Lunar Gateway remains a core element of a sustainable U.S. and international lunar architecture, and Canadian robotics continue to be seen as key to the success of both Gateway and lunar surface missions.
41. What is Canada contributing to the Gateway?
Canada's contribution to the Gateway is an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robotic system comprised of robotic manipulators, interfaces, specialized tools and importantly, operations of those systems and tools. This robotic system will be able to move around and perform maintenance and inspection of the Gateway, capture visiting vehicles, relocate Gateway elements, support spacewalks and scientific operations. In fact, Canada's next-generation space robots will be able to do all this with minimal human intervention.
Given Canada's past investments and experience in developing and operating robotics on the ISS, and world-leading industrial and research capabilities in both space robotics and artificial intelligence, Canada's contribution of a next-generation robotic system to the Gateway was the logical and desired choice.
42. When will Canada's smart robotic system be delivered ?
The CSA is actively working with our partner on defining the Gateway architecture and when the robotic arm will be needed in the mid-2020s. The exact launch date depends on the overall Gateway schedule.
43. How much will Canada's contribution to the Gateway cost?
Space exploration is an expensive endeavour that no country can do alone. We are working closely with NASA and other Gateway partners to make sure our national contributions are well aligned with the requirements of deep space and ambitious timelines we've set for ourselves.
Canada is investing a total of $2B over 24 years to build and operate the Gateway's robotic system. Under an initiative called Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), an additional $150M over 5 years will support the development and demonstration of science instruments and lunar technologies in fields that include artificial intelligence, robotics and health.
44. How did we select robotics as Canada's contribution? Were other contributions considered as well?
The Canadian Space Agency has a mandate to support the development of innovative space technologies. In preparation for potential Canadian contribution to the Gateway, the Agency has studied a number of technology areas based on Canada's strengths, past investments, identified international need, and potential to create socio-economic benefits for Canadians. These included space robotics, lunar rovers, vision systems, telecommunications, and biomedical technologies.
Given the success of the Canadian robotics on the ISS and our world leading expertise in this field, it was natural for our international partners to look to Canada to provide the next generation of space robots.
The Lunar Gateway is the first step towards sustainable human exploration of deep space. Gateway robotics will open up other opportunities for Canadian contributions to subsequent phases of human space exploration, such as future missions to the lunar surface, and eventually to Mars.
45. What are the anticipated benefits of participating in the Gateway and lunar program?
Being a partner in the Gateway ensures a bright future for Canada's astronaut program by securing flight opportunities for its current and future astronauts. It will also allow the Canadian science community to perform scientific investigations around and on the surface of the Moon, and to test cutting-edge technologies in the harsh environment of deep space and radiation. It will also allow Canada's innovative firms to demonstrate their expertise and seek new market opportunities in the emerging commercial space market that is expanding beyond low Earth orbit to include the Moon.
Canada's economy also stands to benefit from this investment. It is estimated that Canadian-built space robotics for the Gateway may contribute close to $135 million annually to Canada's GDP, and create and maintain some 1,300 high-quality jobs for Canadians, over a 10-year period. Canadian industry also stands to benefit from Gateway robotics operations.
Providing Gateway robotic capabilities is a significant contribution to this mission that will position Canadian industry for future opportunities as robotics integrators and operators, as well as open new markets such as the on-orbit servicing market.
46. The European Space Agency just signed an agreement with NASA on the Lunar Gateway. When will the CSA sign an agreement with NASA for the Gateway?
The Canada-U.S. Gateway Agreement will be signed when the respective internal approval processes are completed.
47. What is the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), and what will be the amount of the investment?
The Government of Canada is investing $150M over 5 years in the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). This investment will support the development and demonstration of lunar technologies in fields that include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and health, and will help do science on the lunar surface:
- AI-enabled autonomous and digital health care solutions will be critical for future long-duration deep-space exploration missions. Through LEAP, the Canadian Space Agency will seek to identify challenges and solutions that are common to health care delivery in deep space and terrestrial settings (e.g., remote communities).
- To develop capabilities in breakthrough or disruptive technologies that have the potential to give Canada a competitive advantage in space, LEAP will support eligible companies – particularly commercial SMEs – in their efforts to develop early-stage AI and/or robotics technologies with lunar exploration applications, and enable technology demonstrations on satellite or rover missions (e.g., companies will compete to contribute and operate payloads such as novel satellite communications antennae, robotics for on-orbit servicing, and advanced Earth observation sensors).
- LEAP will also support the pursuit of scalable participation in new international space exploration missions such as development of lunar surface exploration payloads (e.g., autonomous scientific instruments to study the Moon, observe Earth, or advance knowledge of the solar system), or contribution of critical components to future international missions to the Moon and Mars.
48. Is LEAP time limited? What happens after five years?
LEAP will build on the success of the CSA's existing programs, including the Space Technology Development Program (STDP), and help ensure that Canada's space sector, particularly SMEs, benefit from Canada's participation in the Lunar Gateway and follow-on missions to the lunar surface.
Funding for LEAP has been allocated up to fiscal year –. The effectiveness of the program will be evaluated near the end of this five-year period to determine whether funding should be extended.
49. What is the value of the Gateway and LEAP for Canadian science? How is this science different from what we currently do on the ISS?
Our experience on the ISS allowed us to observe impacts of space on human body, helping advance our understanding of muscular, skeletal and cardio-vascular health, among other things.
The Gateway will allow humans to live, learn and work in lunar orbit, away from the protection of Earth's magnetic field. That said, the Gateway's proximity to the Moon still represents a relatively safe setting to evaluate long-duration human health and habitation impacts, and will allow us to study effects of space radiation on astronauts and the equipment needed to support them. Understanding and mitigating space radiation will be essential if humans are to explore deep space in a sustained manner.
The Gateway's location in lunar orbit will also allow researchers to perform observations of Earth-Sun system that are not possible from the ground or from Earth's orbit, where the ISS is located. These observations will help us improve our understanding of solar storms and their effects on astronauts and spacecraft systems, as well as on terrestrial infrastructure such as power lines and telecommunications systems.
The Gateway is also envisioned as a staging point for future scientific and human missions to the surface of the Moon, allowing scientists to study the geological processes that have shaped its surface, and help us understand where ice water on the Moon came from. Canadian robotics will play an essential and visible role in assembling and deploying scientific instruments on the Gateway, and handling scientific samples collected on the lunar surface.
Through the LEAP program, we will also offer opportunities to Canadian industry and science communities to develop and demonstrate lunar technologies and to send science instruments to the lunar surface.
50. Does Canada's contribution to the Gateway mean that Canadian astronauts will get to fly to the lunar orbit? How about setting foot on the Moon?
Our participation in the ISS program has secured space flights for Canadian astronauts. Thanks to our contributions to the ISS, 9 extraordinary Canadians took part in 17 space missions.
While the ultimate objective of our ISS partners is to see humans on the surface of the Moon, they are, at this moment, focusing on the Lunar Gateway. Being a partner in the Gateway mission opens more flight opportunities for Canadian astronauts. Exactly how many, how often and to which destination (ISS or Gateway) will be a matter of discussion, and will be tied closely to each nation's contribution to the program, similar to how we've negotiated astronaut flights to the ISS.
51. How is the Government going to ensure that investments in the Gateway are going to benefit Canadian industry more broadly, and not just MDA?
Government's commitment to develop and deliver a robotic system for the Lunar Gateway will be a significant boost to Canadian space industry, large and small. Any contracts related to this investment will follow Government's standard procurement policies and practices.
Canada's contribution to the ISS included a supply chain of more than 200 companies which evolved to support Canadarm2 development and operations.
The Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) is aimed at developing and demonstrating new space technologies and to put Canadian science experiments on the Moon using our international and commercial partners' lunar landers. LEAP will enable companies – mainly SME's – and universities to demonstrate their capabilities and to take part in exciting missions to the Moon.
Finally, the Government of Canada is applying the Industrial and Technological Benefits policy to the development and procurement of Canadarm3, which will ensure the participation of the broader Canadian supply chain and help motivate investments in key industrial capabilities within Canada's space sector.
52. Does Canada's involvement in the Gateway mean that the International Space Station will abandoned? What is the plan for the ISS beyond ?
Canada is a partner in the ISS and is committed to continue participating in the program until at least the end of . The science we do on the ISS and the experience gained by operating and utilizing the ISS will continue to be essential as we develop the means to explore farther into space. What happens to the Station beyond will be determined by the ISS partnership. Discussions among partners are currently on-going, and Canada is at the table.
Human presence in LEO will continue to be a valuable platform for the advancement of scientific knowledge and development of new technologies long after the ISS has reached the end of its life, and the Gateway is up and running. Growing commercial space sector is bound to play a more prominent role in LEO economy as industry continues to build space commerce ecosystem that is sustainable, cost-effective and safe.
53. Why is the Canadian Space Agency investing in healthcare? What are the benefits?
Canada has committed to participating in international space exploration efforts that aim to propel humanity farther into the solar system. Keeping astronauts safe and healthy during these long missions will be critical. As astronaut crews travel to more distant destinations, they will need systems and technologies designed to help provide medical care with less reliance on Earth.
Building on a legacy of Canadian health research on the International Space Station, and capitalizing on Canada's medical research and technologies strengths, the Canadian Space Agency is working towards identifying opportunities where space and health partners could work together to find solutions for shared healthcare challenges.
For instance, miniaturized and portable medical devices, innovative sensor technologies, and AI-enabled virtual healthcare solutions that would keep astronauts healthy would also help improve access to clinical, lab and imaging services in remote communities. This will improve health care in remote and northern communities, lowering the cost of medical transportation, and reducing time away from home for residents of these communities. Directly related to health, food production and nutrition are areas where advancements in technologies developed for space will benefit remote communities.
54. Will Canadian industry benefit from investments in health and medical care for space?
Past practical applications of space spin-offs include radiation technologies adapted for precision cancer therapy, and space robotics adapted for specialized precision surgery and minimally invasive procedures.
Through access to space development opportunities and potential spin-off and spin-in solutions, Canadian health and biomedical companies can be expected to accelerate their technological innovation, increase their export potential, and diversify domestic markets.
55. What are the Artemis Accords?
The Artemis Accords are a common set of principles, led by the U.S. and developed in consultation with the Artemis Accords partners, designed to guide the exploration and use of outer space in a safe and sustainable manner and in accordance with international treaty obligations. The Artemis Accords are a political commitment to safe and sustainable space exploration activities, but more work will have to be done, within the UN structure, to ensure space exploration and use continues to be for the benefit and in the interest of all humankind.
56. Did Canada work with the United States on the Artemis Accords?
Canada worked closely with the United States and the other signatories of the Artemis Accords to ensure that the Artemis Accords reinforced the principles of the core space treaties, in particular the Outer Space Treaty, and provided guidelines for safe and sustainable space exploration activities and operations.
57. Why has Canada signed on to the Artemis Accords?
The Government of Canada is committed to the principles outlined in the Artemis Accords. These Accords represent progress toward conducting safe and sustainable deep-space exploration activities in accordance with the core space treaties, in particular the Outer Space Treaty. In line with Canada's Open Government approach, the recently launched exercise of consulting Canadians is a critical step in determining how best to implement the principles of the Artemis Accords in a way that positions Canadian industry to leverage new opportunities, while ensuring Canada continues to meet its obligations under the Outer Space Treaty.
Canada also looks forward to continuing the dialogue both bilaterally and multilaterally, including within the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS).
58. Why is Canada conducting consultations on the Artemis Accords?
The original "
rules of the road" for space exploration date back to the late '60s and early '70s – at a time when settlements on the Moon or Mars were the stuff of science fiction. While the treaties that were developed at that time, such as the Outer Space Treaty, provide a strong foundation for these emerging activities, Canada is interested in further developing guidelines to supplement the original treaties in order to ensure that that these missions are conducted in a safe and sustainable manner.
The Artemis Accords as proposed by the U.S., and refined over the past several months, represent a multi-country effort to develop such guidelines.
Canada has signed on to the Artemis Accords as a first step towards establishing a framework for the conduct of emerging space exploration activities. In line with Canada's Open Government approach, the Canadian Space Agency will consult Canadians on the principles in the Accords to shape Canada's policies, nationally and multilaterally.
59. What is Canada's policy/position around lunar operations and space resource utilization?
The Artemis Accords represent a high-level set of principles to conduct lunar operations and space resource utilization in a safe and sustainable manner. Canada will continue to work on addressing the policy issues related to lunar operations and space resource utilization as well as other key international space policy / law issues. This work is still in the early stages and while that work is ongoing, Canada will continue to participate in UN COPUOS and other multilateral fora to promote a common approach by all spacefaring nations to ensure peaceful, safe and sustainable space exploration activities. In addition, lunar operations and space resource utilization will be key focus areas of the upcoming consultation process.
60. How is Canada ensuring / how will Canada ensure that the Canadian space industry is positioned to benefit from the rapidly evolving and growing opportunities in space?
Canada sees its commitment to the Artemis Accords as a positive step towards positioning the Canadian space industry to benefit from the rapidly growing global space economy. Canada will continue to respond to the new realities of the evolving space environment. It will support innovative space firms so they can grow and thrive in Canada and abroad.
Through the Canadian Space Agency's Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), the Government of Canada is investing $150M over 5 years to support the development and demonstration of lunar technologies in fields that include artificial intelligence, robotics and health, and to do science on the lunar surface.
The Government is also reviewing Canada's regulatory framework governing space-related activities to ensure it provides timely responses for industry, maintains strategic oversight for national security, and enables commercial growth.
Canada will also continue to seek benefits for Canadian firms through its ongoing collaborations with NASA and by strengthening relations with space agencies in other international markets.
In addition, space has been identified in the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan as a new frontier with the potential to create new opportunities for the Canadian mining industry through leveraging space-based and other technologies to improve efficiency, and drive innovation and competitiveness.
61. Why does Canada participate in the ISS?
The International Space Station is a key stepping stone for future exploration destinations, helping us to learn how to live and work in space.
Canada is a world leader in space robotics. Canadarm2 built the Station and now keeps it running.
- Today, our robots are accomplishing tasks we never thought they would be doing in the first place.
- Canadarm2 has now more than 35 cargo-vehicle captures. These ships contain food, science experiments, and other supplies.
- Dextre tackles the tough or routine jobs outside the Station, allowing astronauts to spend more time doing scientific experiments.
This unique research laboratory enables ground-breaking science and technology that benefit life on Earth.
- The Station has hosted almost 3,000 experiments from over 4,200 researchers in more than 100 countries. At any given time, a large array of different experiments are underway within a wide range of disciplines.
- Canadian studies conducted aboard the ISS are designed to better understand the effects of space travel on astronauts' bodies while also contributing to health benefits on Earth.
62. What is the Osiris-REx Mission and what is Canada's involvement?
OSIRIS-REx is an asteroid sample return mission, led by NASA in partnership with France's Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, that was launched in . Its target is Bennu, a pristine, carbon-rich asteroid that has changed little since the time of its formation 4 billion years ago, and may reveal a wealth of information about the early Solar System.
OSIRIS-REx marks Canada's first participation in an asteroid sample-return mission. Canada supplied the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), built by MDA and its subcontractor Optech, which was used to create a 3D map of the asteroid Bennu. The 3D map helped scientists pick a sampling site. The mission completed a successful sampling attempt on October 20. The OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft will return a sample in .
In exchange for Canada's contribution of the OLA instrument, Canada will receive a portion (4%) of the asteroid sample. This is the first time samples will be stored and available for study in Canada. The samples will help Canadian scientists answers questions on how planets (like Earth) formed.
63. What is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and what is its purpose?
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the most powerful space telescope ever built. Developed by NASA, with key contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency, after over 20 years of planning and development, JWST is one of NASA's most complex projects and top priorities. The CSA contributed a scientific instrument and a guidance sensor. Thanks to that contribution, Canadian scientists will take part in this exciting science mission that promises to change our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
The JWST will be the Scientific successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope, but not its replacement. It is expected to be 100 times more sensitive than Hubble and will be orbiting the sun at 1.5 million KM from the Earth. With JWST, we will study every phase in cosmic history, from the first light after the big bang and the formation of stellar systems hosting planets that could support life, to the evolution of our own solar system. This will be a new chapter in our understanding of astronomy, the universe and our place in it.
JWST is also one of NASA's most expensive projects. In , NASA approved new cost and schedule commitments for JWST with a life cycle cost of USD$ 9.7 billion.
64. How is Canada contributing to the JWST?
The Canadian Space Agency contributed to the telescope with two scientific instruments:
- the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), which will allow the telescope to point at and focus on objects of interest; and
- the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), a scientific instrument that will help astronomers worldwide study many astronomical objects, from exoplanets to distant galaxies.
Both instruments have been delivered to NASA in , and became the first JWST science instrument to be officially accepted by NASA in .
In return for its investment, Canada will acquire an exclusive observation time for a minimum of 5% of the total telescope observation time during the General Observations program. Canada will also have access to 450 hours during the Guaranteed time observations program; enjoy early involvement with the data collected by the instrument; participate in a forefront international mission; and, provide training opportunities to many young scientists and engineers in the fields of space astronomy and space engineering. Thanks to CSA's contribution, Canadian scientists will be some of the first to study data collected by the most advanced space telescope ever built.
Canada's participation in the JWST is in direct alignment with the Space Strategy, as it will contribute to inspire the next generation of Canadians in the pursuit of science, discovery, and technology advancement. It will also to cement and expend Canada's international partnerships.
65. What is the current status of the JWST?
On , NASA announced that due to impacts from COVID-19 and technical challenges, the launch of JWST is now planned for . This decision was based on the schedule risk assessment of the remaining integration and test activities before launch.
The project is currently in the Implementation phase, which will end after the observatory commissioning. For the majority of work remaining, NASA is relying on two contractors: Northrop Grumman and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy's Space Telescope Science Institute. Northrop Grumman has performed the integration of the spacecraft element with the Optical Telescope Element, and is progressing towards testing the observatory. AURA is managing the Webb Science & Operations Control Center at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which prepares the science program; provides science and integration support; performs public outreach, among others. Aura also performs flight and science operations during the launch and commissioning of the JWST.
The CSA with its prime contractor, Honeywell Aerospace, are supporting the telescope testing through launch and commissioning, as well as commissioning planning and rehearsals and science planning and preparations. Currently, Canada is supporting the integration and test of the provided instrument as part of the assembly of the JWST observatory.
In this section
- What is RCM?
- Who owns RCM?
- How will RCM benefit Canadians?
- How can Canadians access RCM data?
- How is RCM different from RADARSAT-2?
- If the private sector is producing so much data, why would we still build satellites at all?
- Was the RCM project delivered within the planned schedule and budget?
- Why does the RSSSA hamper access to EO data in Canada? How are we addressing it?
- How does EO help deliver on government priorities (additional examples)?
- What is the WILDFIRESAT Mission?
- What is Earth Observation Services Continuity (EOSC)
- What is the CSA doing to plan for what comes after the RCM?
- Should we expect that the Government will be asked to build another Canadian-owned system, much like the RCM?
- What is the Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat)
- What is the SMILE Mission?
66. What is RCM?
The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is the evolution of the RADARSAT Program. It was developed through Government investments in Canada's world-leading capabilities in space-based Synthetic Aperture Radar. The three-satellite configuration will provide daily revisits of Canada's vast territory and maritime approaches, as well as daily access to 90 per cent of the world's surface.
The RCM is designed to provide the data necessary to support government operations for three main applications: maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring.
The RCM is critical to Canada. Over the last two decades, RADARSAT images have become invaluable to government and other users in a number of areas – from ice and maritime surveillance to disaster response and natural resource management and mapping. Over a dozen government departments already use RADARSAT data, and will require RCM data, to deliver services to Canadians.
The total value of this Major Crown project is $1.1B for the design, assembly, integration, testing, launch and operations of the three spacecraft during the planned lifetime of the mission (seven years).
67. Who owns RCM?
The Government of Canada owns RCM. It is designed to primarily ensure the continued availability of data for the government departments already using RADARSAT data to deliver services to Canadians.
68. How will RCM benefit Canadians?
Data generated by RCM will enable the development of innovative information products benefitting Canadians in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:
- Through more frequent ice monitoring, RCM will help create precise sea ice maps of Canada's oceans and the Great Lakes to facilitate navigation and commercial maritime transportation, which is essential to our economy and in our daily lives.
- Similarly, radar data is used to monitor changes in permafrost and ground movement to support northern communities in planning municipal infrastructure. The information enables decision makers to identify where to safely build houses as well as to plan airport runways and their operation and maintenance.
- RCM will also be used to monitor the integrity of critical infrastructure like highways, overpasses and bridges, making them safer for Canadians.
Using RADARSAT-2 imagery, along with that of other satellites, Natural Resources Canada produced maps that aided Public Safety Canada's relief efforts during the severe flooding in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick earlier this spring. RCM will also have this capability, but with a higher revisit rate.
Radar is a powerful tool since it has the capability to view through clouds, haze and smoke, to map burn scars and is sensitive to the changes in the structural characteristics of forest ecosystems that occur due to wildfire.
Satellite data help farmers grow crops to their full potential and produce better quality products for Canadians.
- RCM will accurately detect crop characteristics over thousands of square metres, regardless of weather conditions.
- The data will be extremely useful in monitoring moisture levels in the top few centimetres of soil, assessing soil and crop health, and avoiding waste of fertilizer, pesticides and water.
- In other words, the highly accurate data collected by RCM will enable farmers to maximize crop yields while reducing energy consumption and the use of potential pollutants.
69. How can Canadians access RCM data?
There are two ways Canadians can access RCM data, by accessing information as a member of the public or applying for vetted access.
Public access is available to anyone who registers for an Earth Observation Data Management System (EODMS) account. This is the GoC system, managed by our partners at NRCan which is used to distribute RCM data. Public access is restricted to approximately 3% of RCM data.
Currently, only Canadian industry and Canadian provinces and territories can apply to obtain vetted access, which provides access to approximately 50% of RCM data. An application must be submitted and reviewed by the CSA and GAC. The application is subject to a security screening process and GAC has the final authority to approve an application and grant vetted access. Only one vetted user account is allowed per organization.
Vetted access to RCM data by Canadian academia and universities is in a trial phase and more information will be available soon.
50% of RCM data is available to the GoC only and not available to Canadians at this time. This mainly consists of data that is required for maritime domain awareness activities which is used in near-real time and is not archived on the EODMS system.
70. How is RCM different from RADARSAT-2?
There are several differences between the RCM and Radarsat 2 programs, including in regard to ownership, operations, cost structure for government, and in regards to technical capabilities and data access.
From an ownership perspective, Radarsat 2 is owned by a Canadian company, MDA inc, while RCM is wholly owned and operated by the Government of Canada. For Radarsat 2, the Government of Canada signed a service contract for the pre-purchase and provision of imaging services. MDA retained the right to sell images within the boundaries of the Radarsat operating licence issued by Global Affairs Canada. Further to the expiry of the original agreement with MDA, a new contract was recently negotiated to maintain access to Radarsat 2 imaging services from MDA by registered federal departments on a user-pay model.
For RCM, the Government of Canada provided significant capital funds for the design/construction/launch of RCM satellites and for one-year of operation in space. Government of Canada has exclusive rights (including for ownership, command and control) to the RCM assets and imaging products. These rights extend to the ability to provide imaging products to other users.
From a technical perspective, RCM will have three identical spacecraft that will fly together in a constellation instead of just one like RADARSAT-2. Because of this it will have the capacity to view any point over 90% of the world's surface every 24 hours (except around the South Pole); offer daily images (on average) of Canada's vast land mass, oceans and coasts; and cover areas in the high Arctic up to four times a day. This capacity will allow for the creation of composite images that highlight changes over time, which will be particularly useful for monitoring climate change, land use evolution, and even human impacts on the environment.
As well, unlike RADARSAT-2, RCM is equipped with an Automated Identification System (AIS) for ships. The AIS will be used independently or in conjunction with the radar, allowing improved detection and tracking of vessels of interest.
71. If the private sector is producing so much data, why would we still build satellites at all?
Commercial and public sources of data serve very different purposes and are complementary, not exclusionary.
- Some data sets, like regularly capturing standard images from a camera onboard a satellite, have commercial value to agricultural, mining, financial and resource firms, and so commercial providers have emerged to provide this data and analysis of it to serve this niche.
- Other kinds of satellite data have little to no commercial value and exist largely for scientific or public service reasons. An example might be data on chemistry and winds in the upper atmosphere which are vital for weather forecasting and climate change science but for which there is no market demand.
- Another issue pertains to the importance of the proliferation of data for scientific and commercial use. Experiments over the past 50 years with different data models in the United Sates and Europe have led to the same conclusion. The most economic and socially beneficial data policy is for governments to collect certain kinds of data as a public service and then make it available to the private sector and academia to use it as the basis for valuable products or research (this is the same model that the US GPS system operates under).
- Under this open data model, economic returns multiply as companies use the free data and merge it with other paid sources to serve customers in mining, forestry, etc…, creating jobs and domestic revenues (the companies become even more profitable as they don't need to build and operate costly satellites to get their data, just like GPS).
- This is why the United States makes it's Landsat satellite data free, and why the EU has developed the Copernicus program under a free and open model. These models can also still directly support industry by having third party contractors build, and sometimes even operate, the satellites that collect data for the public good.
- Comparatively, if the governments were to seek all the same societal benefits through the purchasing of data and then making it publically available the costs could be immense. Negotiating open rights to commercial data would undercut current business models and would likely not be cheaper than building and operating a government system.
- What we have seen emerge instead over the past ten years has been the presence of commercial firms offering highly specialized data that governments can buy to complement their own sources while also selling commercially. In this instance, there is market demand because the government doesn't provide such data or services, or because it remains classified for national security purposes – e.g. very high resolution imagery of sensitive military installations.
72. Was the RCM project delivered within the planned schedule and budget?
The three RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) spacecraft were successfully completed and delivered, on schedule and within the planned budget.
Satellite programs take years to plan, often 15 years or more from initial concept to launch, and requirements may change over that period. When the RCM was first presented to Cabinet (in ), the estimated budget was $600 million. Nearly ten years later, in , the government signed a firm fixed price contract of $706 million with MDA for the construction, launch, and the first year of operations of the three satellites, bringing the total investment in the project to a little over $1 billion where it has stayed since. The delay in launching RCM did not increase costs to the Government.
This investment in a world-leading Earth observation capability includes R&D, design, manufacturing, assembly, integration, testing, launch and operations of the three spacecraft during the planned lifetime of the mission (seven years).
The increased cost from initial estimates until the contract was signed in was due to changes in the design and features added to the satellites to ensure the mission continues to respond to evolving government user needs and mandates and lessons learned from RADARSAT-2. These include:
- AIS sensors, which track ships headed towards Canada's coastlines;
- Enhanced encryption to prevent hacking of the satellites;
- Additional imaging modes and other enhancements.
In essence, the final design led to a much more robust and capable satellite than originally planned.
73. Why does the RSSSA hamper access to EO data in Canada? How are we addressing it?
Distribution of data from an EO system is controlled by the RSSSA and its regulations. Distribution is only authorized under a license issued by GAC, the department that administers the Act.
Under the law, the factors that must be considered in issuing a license are focused on defence and security; they are not balanced with the benefits of open data. The door is open through the RSSSA Regulations to consider competitiveness at the national and international levels of the Canadian remote sensing space industry. It is not, however, one of the major factors listed in the Act.
Despite the open data policies of the Government and global trends, GAC has limited discretion to adapt because of these factors.
RSSSA puts Canada at a comparative disadvantage in two ways:
- Regulation shopping: Firms and their investors favour the US over Canada because there are fewer restriction for selling data from systems licensed under US law
- Competition: Firms more likely to pay an American provider for services using imagery with few restrictions rather than access a free, but highly-restricted, GC-owned data set (i.e. RCM), or pay a highly-restricted Canadian EO firm to meet their needs
74. How does EO help deliver on government priorities (additional examples)?
For example, satellites provide the underlying data to understand progress on the Pan-Canadian Climate Change Framework. With extensive national obligations to report on climate change mitigation targets to international bodies, it has become increasingly important to secure trusted and authoritative data sources from which to derive information – something that Canadian satellites can provide.
(The Canadian Scisat satellite alone measures over 40 atmospheric gases linked to climate change, air quality and pollution).
- Oceans Protection Plan
Can be used to monitor ocean conditions – e.g., ocean currents, waves, algal blooms – to establish baselines for reporting purposes
75,000 Cdns rely on legal fishing and related activities for their livelihood; SBEO enables detection of illegal fishing ships
RCM data is also used by a number of departments to detect oil spills in near-real time, allowing enforcement and response activities to be better targeted.
- Strong, Secure, Engaged
Satellite imagery is used by the CAF to provide information on otherwise inaccessible areas including the Arctic, and to support situational awareness during domestic and international deployments. RCM and RADARSAT data helps keep our troops safe, providing ISR in advance of missions in dangerous areas and RCM is used everyday to detect, classify and monitor shipping entering Canada's maritime approaches. This information is provided to intelligence analysts who can decide whether to task other limited assets such as aircraft, helicopters or ships for inspections or other enforcement actions.
- Food Policy for Canada
EuroConsult estimates costs savings to farmers through use of SBEO-derived products could reach $1.3B by
Crucially, SBEO products allow farmers to produce more with less environmental impact by providing an overview of soil conditions and areas under cultivation. Using this information, farmers can more precisely target interventions such as fertilizer and watering, saving costs and boosting yields.
75. What is the WILDFIRESAT Mission?
Wildfires are a serious and growing challenge to Canadians. Every year, they burn Canadian forests the equivalent of about half the size of Nova Scotia, and this is projected to double by due to our changing climate.
Canada spends about $1 billion annually to fight wildfires. If we include property loss, damaged infrastructure, industrial shutdowns, evacuations, health-related expenses, and economic losses in a variety of sectors, costs can rise to several billion dollars per year.
The WildFireSat project is developed by the Government of Canada to monitor active wildfires in Canada on a daily basis using innovative space technology. The WildFireSat system will consist of one or more satellites equipped with infrared sensors that will measure the energy emitted by wildfires. This energy is referred to as Fire Radiative Power (FRP). With FRP information, essential characteristics of wildfires such as fire intensity and rate of spread can be derived. It will also give us accurate data on carbon emission from wildfires.
This information will provide wildfire managers with information to assess risks, prioritize their response, plan evacuations, reduce damages and health impacts to Canadians. WildFireSat will also enable better measurements of the carbon emitted by wildfires, an important requirement of international agreements on carbon reporting. WildFireSat is developed by the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian Forest Service (part of Natural Resources Canada), and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Launch is planned for .
76. What is Earth Observation Services Continuity (EOSC)
EOSC is the Government of Canada's primary effort to ensure C-band SAR data continuity beyond the design life of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). The CSA has been undertaking this significant effort, as C-band SAR data is now considered essential to the delivery of several of the GC's critical operations. Indeed, our key partner departments such as ECCC, DND, NRCan, DFO and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) rely on RCM data for essential operations, such as ice monitoring, flood watch/emergency response, agricultural crop mapping and ship detection and monitoring, to name a few. C-band SAR data is now considered so important that the Government committed to examining options for a successor solution to the RCM as part of the Space Strategy. Therefore, there is a clear need to identify solutions that the Government of Canada could consider investing in to ensure no data gap beyond the lifespan of RCM (post-).
77. What is the CSA doing to plan for what comes after the RCM?
As a first step, the CSA has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking concept studies to identify possible options that could constitute a RCM successor solution. The contracts for these concept studies were awarded on October 2. There were 8 contracts awarded in total, including 7 which were awarded to Canadian companies. The full list of awarded companies includes:
- Airbus (German)
- Astrocom (Canada)
- C Core (Canadian)
- Insarsat (Canadian)
- MDA (Canadian)
- Polar View (Canadian)
- SSCL (Canadian)
- UrtheCast (Canadian)
Each contract will be valued up to $1M/contract, therefore a possible total of $8M directed to industry through these contracts. Each contract will receive a base amount of $350K with the possibility of receiving the full amount if the concepts proposed by each company continues to meet expectations, selection criteria and milestone deliverables.
78. Should we expect that the Government will be asked to build another Canadian-owned system, much like the RCM?
The CSA is working to explore all options and technologies available to best meet its future data needs and find a successor to the RCM. This could mean building another satellite, leveraging the use of a new technology or international data-sharing agreements, or a mix of all, to name a few examples. We welcome any innovative ideas from industry, including proposals that suggest the Government could consider the purchase of data from a particular company's commercial system. Therefore, it is not a foregone conclusion that the Government will be asked to invest in a new crown-owned system.
79. What is the Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat)
QEYSSat is a technology demonstration satellite that will demonstrate quantum key distribution in space. Quantum key distribution is a technology that creates virtually unbreakable encryption codes and will provide Canada with secure communications in the age of quantum computing. QEYSSat will bring Canada a step closer to the realization of a truly secure communication infrastructure that will enable national and even global interconnection. QEYSSat is slated for launch at the end of .
Cybersecurity is a priority for the Government of Canada and QEYSSat will test a quantum technology that process communications in space. Since an encryption key cannot be compromised, it is virtually impossible to crack, regardless of any current or future technology. Integrating this technology into our communication networks would guarantee the privacy of Canadians' public, private, and commercial data.
Although ground-based quantum key distribution devices are commercially available today, their capacity is very limited. Existing systems rely on fibre optic cables to transmit quantum particles on land, but the signal becomes unreliable at a distance of over 200 kilometres. In order to integrate quantum key distribution with all forms of communication technology across the world, a network must be able to use satellites instead of cables.
The CSA has awarded a contract worth $30 million to Honeywell. Under this contract, Honeywell will build, test, deliver and commission QEYSSat.
80. What is the SMILE Mission?
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the University of Calgary, which has secured funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Alberta's Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, are developing Canada's contribution to the Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission. A collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the mission will study space weather, the phenomenon that causes the northern lights but can also cause disruptions and damage to technology.
To support Canada's contribution to SMILE – and using an innovative business model involving co-funding from the CSA, the CFI and Alberta's Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism – the CSA will be awarding two contracts: almost $11 million to Honeywell, to design the Ultra-Violet Imager (UVI); and $1.5 million to the University of Calgary, to design the UVI Science Operations and Data Centre.
Scientists from the University of Calgary were co-authors of the SMILE proposal, which was selected by ESA and CAS for study in from among 13 proposals.
SMILE will carry four instruments: one from Canada, one from the United Kingdom and two from China. The SMILE satellite will orbit at a high altitude, taking over two days for each revolution around Earth.
Canada's UVI instrument will observe the auroras over the entire northern hemisphere, even during daytime, for 40 hours at a time.
The SMILE satellite is scheduled for launch in late .
The approximate total cost of the SMILE mission is between $250 million and $300 million.
In this section
- What is the international landscape for space activities?
- How does Canada compare to other nations, from an investment perspective?
- Why do countries work together in space?
- Who does Canada work with in space and why?
- Does CSA work with China? Are you worried about China as a competitor to Canada?
81. What is the international landscape for space activities?
Recognizing the strategic value of space assets, nations around the world are investing in space capability, and are providing significant incentives both to grow domestic firms and to attract international talent and companies. In , the number of countries investing in space totaled 55. Since then, the number of countries investing in space has continued to rise, totaling 84 in , a historic high.
Today, space is congested, contested and competitive.
- Congested – The risk of collision between satellites and other orbiting spacecraft or debris continues to rise, as more and more objects are launched into orbit by firms, universities and governments. We work with the international community to develop rules to reduce the impact of this risk.
- Contested – While Canada remains fully committed to the peaceful use of space, we know some nations could potentially threaten access to the space domain and the capabilities it provides.
- Competitive - In addition to the growing number of state-sponsored space programs, the commercial space industry has grown exponentially over the last several years. While this has contributed significantly to the congestion of outer space, it also presents exciting opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration between the public and private sectors. We need to ensure we position Canadian industry to succeed in this new competitive landscape.
82. How does Canada compare to other nations, from an investment perspective?
Canada's civil space expenditures as a percentage of GDP have declined in the past 30 years. Among G7 nations, Canada was ranked 4th in spending on space as a share of GDP in , but by , having declined its share of spending (-67 per cent), Canada ranked last. Canada's civil space expenditures as a percentage of GDP are now 71 per cent below the G7 average, and 42 per cent below the OECD average.
83. Why do countries work together in space?
Our capabilities in space are often used as a means to strengthen our relations with other countries, such as the US, and because fundamentally, space exploration is expensive and technologically challenging. No nation can do it completely alone.
Strategic international partnerships are a key aspect of all countries' space programs. Canada is seen as a reliable partner in scientific and technological research, satellite communications, and space exploration. In many cases, agency-to-agency level cooperation is required to assist in facilitating joint projects. These relationships expand export market opportunities for Canadian firms.
Space can sometimes serve as an extension of our diplomatic efforts (e.g., international humanitarian and relief efforts tied to major disasters). The sharing of space data enhances our contribution to bilateral and multilateral security, intelligence and defence relationships. That is why Canada often barters or pools its investments in space capabilities with international partners. This means that "
millions" invested by the GoC in space systems permits Canada to exchange with allies, effectively gaining equal or greater access to their systems for a much more moderate investment.
More broadly, Canada works with allies to address the risk of irresponsible or deliberately threatening behaviour in space. Space security is increasingly integrated amongst the Five Eyes nations and our allies expect Canada to play a role in both securing access to space and in ensuring that our own assets are protected. CSA experts provide technical advice and help shape Canada's space security policy positions, led by Global Affairs Canada. Further, CSA works closely with partners in Global Affairs Canada and DND to present a unified Canadian position to our Five Eyes partners and at the United Nations. The CSA works with our partners to ensure that its efforts with respect to security do not unnecessarily impact Canada's civil space program.
84. Who does Canada work with in space and why?
International partnerships are at the heart of Canada's space program and play a prominent role given the complexity, risks and costs associated with space missions. To date, the CSA has over 20 active Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and a number of implementing agreements with space agencies around the world. These partnerships allow Canada to contribute key technologies and expertise to large scale missions that Canada could not do alone. In return, Canada benefits from significant advancement in science for Canadian researchers as well as opportunities to test and prove Canadian technology in space. Canadian companies also get access to new contracts and markets, resulting in economic benefits for Canada.
Canada's two closest partners are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Canada-U.S. space collaboration began over 50 years ago when the US launched Canada's first satellite studying space weather and the ionosphere. The launch, in exchange for data, made Canada the third nation in space, marking the birth of Canada's space program. This partnership flourished into a series of science collaborations, followed by the Canadarm on the US space shuttle, and then participation through the International Space Station.
Today, collaboration with NASA spans space activities in all areas, ranging from space exploration, earth observation, science, technology, education, outreach as well as international policy development. Canadian astronauts train alongside NASA astronauts in Houston. The next major collaboration includes Canada's participation on the Lunar Gateway, a small outpost orbiting the Moon, where Canada will provide key robotic capability through Canadarm3.
Canada's participation in ESA programs is facilitated through a treaty-level cooperation agreement – the first one was signed in and the most recent in , and is valid until . Participation in ESA allows Canada to share the costs and risks of a variety of complex missions that Canada would not be able to do alone. It provides a number of other benefits, including R&D advancements for Canadian science and technology, spaceflight opportunities to test and prove Canadian technology in orbit, provide contracts to Canadian industry and to help enable access to the European market.
Canada currently participates in ESA programs related to Satellite Communication, Earth Observation, Navigation, Space Exploration and General Support Technology Development. A significant portion of Canada's investments in ESA optional programs return to Canada in the form of contracts for the Canadian space sector. Experience shows that follow-on opportunities for Canadian companies is valued at almost 3 times the initial investment contract awarded. Additionally, the ESA Education Office has a series of programs for students to gain valuable skills and experience in the space sector, which Canadian students are eligible to participate in.
85. Does CSA work with China? Are you worried about China as a competitor to Canada?
CSA is interested in exploring collaborations with many partners around the world, China among them.
China has rapidly emerged as a key space faring nature with an impressive space program and scientific interest in the use of space.
We are also conscious of the potential for risk in any collaboration with China and we coordinate closely with our partners in GAC and DND before launching any new collaborations.
Canada is currently cooperating with ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences on the Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission to better understand space weather and its affects on space systems and the Earth. CSA will be providing an ultra-violet imager (UVI) as one of four science payloads on the mission.
Canada does not currently have an active MoU with China to facilitate broader partnerships at this time.
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