Book 3 – Programs and Activities
Table of Contents
- Programs and Activities
- 1.1 Science at the CSA
- 1.2 Space Utilization
- 1.2.1 Core Activities (Space Utilization)
- 188.8.131.52 RADARSAT Program - Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth Observation Operations
- 184.108.40.206 Sun-Earth System Sciences
- 220.127.116.11 Sun-Earth System Science Data Analysis
- 18.104.22.168 Satellite Operations, Space Situational Awareness and CRAMS
- 22.214.171.124 smartEarth
- 126.96.36.199 Planned/Development-stage Missions (not elsewhere identified)
- 1.2.2 Major Files and Initiatives (Space Utilization)
- 1.2.1 Core Activities (Space Utilization)
- 1.3 Space Exploration
- 1.3.1 Core Activities (Space Exploration)
- 188.8.131.52 Human Exploration
- 184.108.40.206 Robotic Exploration
- 220.127.116.11 Planned/Development-stage Missions (not elsewhere identified)
- 1.3.2 Major Files and Initiatives (Space Exploration)
- 18.104.22.168 International Space Station (ISS) Continuation beyond
- 22.214.171.124 Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP)
- 126.96.36.199 Food Production
- 188.8.131.52 Mars Ice Mapper (MIM)
- 1.3.1 Core Activities (Space Exploration)
- 1.4 Space Science and Technology Branch / Space Capacity Development Program
- 1.4.1 Core Activities (Space Science and Technology Branch / Space Capacity Development Program)
- 1.4.2 Major Files and Initiatives (Space Science and Technology Branch / Space Capacity Development Program)
- Supporting Activities
- 2.1 Communications and STEM (K-12)
- 2.2 Policy
1. Programs and Activities
1.1 Science at the CSA
1.1.1 Science Advisor Report
The CSA Act notes that the Agency's object is to: "
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".
Today, within Canada, the CSA is well positioned to foster a robust and sustainable set of space science communities that make substantive contributions to exciting and valuable science missions (both stand-alone and with international partner space agencies), develop the next generation of talent, fuel innovative technologies and support high value economic activity. The entities that participate in these communities include research organisations, postsecondary colleges and universities, industry, professional societies, the CSA, and other government departments.
A novel feature of scientific activity supported by the CSA (in contrast with other government departments) is that it is primarily extramural. As part of the Deficit Reduction Action Plan, CSA eliminated all RE-RES-level (research scientist) positions. Some of these personnel were reassigned to other roles that take advantage of their scientific expertise, but they are not currently supported to do scientific research by CSA. Active and continual engagement with external scientific communities (both in universities and other government departments) is therefore essential for CSA to deliver on its mandate.
While CSA has strong bilateral relationships with many stakeholders, [REDACTED]. In the Canadian context, robust space science communities may not be self-sustaining in the long term without active CSA engagement because of the modest scale of the human resources and available funding. Strategic allocation of existing resources can better develop and sustain healthy space science ecosystems. For example, regular, consistent, and expected announcements of opportunity for science and technology development allow institutional partners to develop and maintain technical and scientific expertise.
In , Dr. Sarah Gallagher was appointed Science Advisor to the President for a two-year term that has been extended for an additional two years. The Science Advisor role is a half-time position, and is intended to provide advice from an active space science researcher on the many ways in which CSA supports and delivers science. Her activities are diverse and responsive to requests from different sectors with CSA. To date, they include: collaborating with the members of the CSA Executive Committee to promote science priorities for the Canadian Space Program; working with external stakeholders (primarily university researchers) to establish science priorities and obtain feedback on CSA programs; establishing guidelines to ensure that information produced through government-led space science activities and Open Government data are fully available to the public; representing and promoting the Canadian space science portfolio with other government departments and internationally; and communicating the societal impact and breadth of CSA's science investments both to the public and to expert space science communities, as the principal public-facing Science Advisor for CSA. In addition to Dr. Gallagher, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), National Research Council (NRC), the Public Health Authority of Canada (PHAC), and Transport Canada (TC) have/will have Departmental Science Advisor positions. They form the Departmental Science Advisor Network for the federal government which is coordinated through the Chief Science Advisor's Office. The Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, established and leads the Departmental Science Adviser Network as an important part of integrating and strengthening science advice within government.
1.1.2 Science at CSA Overview
CSA is responsible for advancing the knowledge of space through science and using its discoveries for the good of Canadians and all of humanity. These activities include using space as a platform (scientific data of all sorts taken from space) as well as space as a target (studying natural phenomena from the upper atmosphere to the most distant galaxies). Science activities supported by CSA are grouped internally into three main programmatic areas: space utilization - including earth observations of the surface and atmosphere) by satellite and some ground data validation activities; space exploration – including participation in astronaut missions, space health and life sciences, and space astronomy and planetary science; and, space science and technology – including development of innovative space technologies and applications used on Earth. The boundaries between the domains are not rigid, and the development of space science missions from cradle to grave often requires coordination between the programs. Canadian space science communities are recognized for their excellence internationally, and Canadian scientists and industry are sought-after partners for international collaborations. Scientific objectives are demanding and drive innovation in space technology within academia and industry.
1.1.3 How CSA Supports Science
Over a space mission lifetime, science engagement can occur on many levels, with a corresponding level and timing of investment required (see Figure 1). For example, at the early concept study phase, science goals will set the requirements that determine the engineering design constraints of hardware contributions. At later stages, scientific simulations can be used to determine satellite operations, and following launch, data analysis of space data leads to the impacts that are the objectives of each mission. The CSA and the Government of Canada make the largest commitment in terms of resources for instrument contributions, which can either be for Canadian-led (such as SCISAT) or as contributions to international partnerships (such as the two instruments contributed to NASA's James Webb Space Telescope). Promoting activity on all levels increases science impact as well as the amount and types of training opportunities (for example data scientists as well as instrument engineers). Cradle-to-grave support for science contributions are needed to ensure that science missions both optimize their impacts and deliver on their objectives.
1.1.4 Next Steps for Space Science
We are in the midst of developing long-term plans for large-scale investments that incorporate the science priorities of each science domain. The priorities are high-level questions or objectives that motivate the space science communities. (As an example, '
Are we alone?' is one of the big questions that characterizes a key priority for space astronomy.) The priorities are identified by each space science community, and each science mission activity under consideration for investment should tie into a science priority. The priorities will be captured and defined in a Canadian Space Science Vision document, with a section for each space science community. This process requires extensive consultation with each advisory committee and is ongoing. To date, space astronomy and atmospheric science are well under way and should be complete in Fall ; the next two domains are likely to be solar-terrestrial and planetary science, with planned delivery in Spring . The order in which they are undertaken will be determined by the maturity of planning activities in a domain and the available resources within CSA for the work.
1.2 Space Utilization
1.2.1 Core Activities
The Space Utilization Branch's mission is to ensure that Canada takes full advantage of the potential offered by space for the benefit of its citizens. The strategic objectives of the Space Utilization Branch are to: prioritize future earth observation capabilities, support excellence in data analytics and support space science to study Earth and beyond, including collecting climate change data.
The Space Utilization is composed of four program elements: Operational Earth Observation (RADARSAT program), Scientific Earth Observation, Satellite Operations and Space Situational Awareness, and Applications Development (smartEarth).
Success in space utilization requires collaboration between the CSA and Canadian industry, academia, other government departments, and foreign space agencies. The space utilization stakeholder community is large and diverse, stretching from the developers of innovative components and systems for use in space (called the "
upstream"), to data reception and data processing activities (called the "midstream") and finally to the variety of users in an ever increasing number of non-space economic sectors who use the data produced by Canadian space assets for scientific and operational applications (called the "
Under space utilization, scientific earth observation activities can to some extent be divided into space science communities versus communities that use data from space. Space science communities have been historically supported by CSA, and are actively engaged in new instrument development; these communities include atmospheric sciences and solar-terrestrial (which encompasses space physics and space weather – more below). Earth systems sciences are more likely to include science communities that use space data, and they may not be actively engaged with CSA at present. Meeting science objectives in Earth observations may in some cases be met by acquiring data from other governments or commercial sources, but in other cases this will not be the case, and new instrument development is required.
184.108.40.206 RADARSAT Program - Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth Observation Operations
The RADARSAT program is Canada's series of flagship Earth Observation satellite missions. It began with the launch of RADARSAT1 in . This was followed by RADARSAT2 in . The RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) was launched on . With RCM, the CSA provides world-leading and vital space-based Earth Observation (SBEO) imagery needed to fulfil operational needs of over a dozen GC departments for uses such as ice mapping, environmental monitoring, supporting the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces and ship detection.
RCM consists of three satellites, each with two sensors onboard – a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can "
see" through weather and smoke to provide digital imagery of the Earth during both day and night, and a receiver for automatic identification system (AIS) signals that can detect transponder signals emitted from ships (the AIS sensors were provided by the Department of National Defence (DND)). The three-satellite configuration allows for daily revisits of Canada's vast territory, as well as the capability to observe a specific point over 90% of the world's surface and the Arctic up to four times a day. While the system has global reach, the three satellites are designed to image for approximately 600 minutes per day total. This is due to the need to manage power usage and respect hardware specifications to ensure the satellites remain functional for their entire design life.
RCM is owned by the Government of Canada. The CSA has overall responsibility for the RCM project and operations (i.e., operating the satellites in orbit). Natural Resources Canada owns and operates the ground infrastructure (such as antennas) to which radar data is downlinked for processing into imagery; as well as the Earth Observation Data Management System (EODMS) platform for access to imagery. DND operates its own ground stations to downlink data for its uses, known as Polar Epsilon 2.
Work is underway to ensure that the socio-economic benefits from RCM imagery are maximized via the Data Policy and EODMS to enable non-Government users to access RCM imagery collected for the GC. RCM imagery data should be made available to the broadest extent possible (with due regard to security requirements set out in the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act (RSSSA) which gives Global Affairs Canada (GAC) regulatory authority over all Canadian EO satellites and ground infrastructure), in order to promote the development of innovative digital products, services and to enable new science.
CSA, DND, NRCan and Shared Services Canada (SSC) have been granted a shared operating license for RCM under the RSSSA that authorizes each to conduct controlled activities. The President of the CSA is named in the license and the Agency is authorized to control the satellites; receive, process, distribute, and store data; and establish and use cryptography and information assurance measures for the system.
RADARSAT1 ceased operating in . RADARSAT2 was operated as a public-private-partnership between the GoC and the prime contractor, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA). RADARSAT2 is still operational and imagery is still available to GoC departments to supplement RCM through a user-pay model coordinated by the CSA.
220.127.116.11 Sun-Earth System Sciences
The Sun-Earth System Sciences (SESS) disciplines are as follows: Earth system science, atmospheric science and, solar-terrestrial science. It contributes to a greater understanding of the Earth's space environment and its interaction with the Sun, the chemical and physical processes found in the Earth's atmosphere, and how they interact with the Earth's surface. The range of activities covered include mission design, ground infrastructure, and the access and use of the data and imagery.
Earth system science
Earth system science is the study of the interconnected components of our environment—the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere—and how they interact to produce an integrated whole. It utilizes the fundamental disciplines of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology and applies them in the context of human activities and landscapes to understand the Earth, at scales ranging from single watersheds to the entire globe.
Working with a satellite network of international partners, Earth systems scientists help map the myriad of connections between our planet's vital processes and the effects of the ongoing natural and human-caused changes. Data is collected about the science of our planet's atmospheric motion and composition; land cover, land use and vegetation; ocean currents, temperatures and upper-ocean life; and ice on land and sea. It is common for these datasets to be free and open to anyone.
Canada' active space assets in earth system science:
- The RADARSAT satellites (RADARSAT-2 and RCM) are the two primary sources of Canadian earth system science data.
- The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, scheduled to launch in , will provide the earth systems science community with new and detailed information on the ocean's surface topography, and measure how lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans are changing over time. Led by NASA and the French space agency (CNES), SWOT will survey 90% of the Earth's surface water. The CSA is providing a component of the radar instrument: a set of extended interaction klystrons (EIKs). The EIKs will generate and amplify the microwave pulses needed by the main instrument. SWOT will measure ocean features with 10x the resolution of current technologies. These precise measurements will provide the SWOT Canadian science team, led by ECCC and DFO, with a better understanding of the dynamics of the world's oceans and terrestrial surface water.
- The future WildFireSat mission (further details below) will add another source of data.
- Canada provides scientific support for international earth system science mission like the European Space Agency's Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite and NASA's soil moisture active passive (SMAP) satellite.
Our atmosphere, the invisible layer of gas surrounding the Earth, sustains life as we know it. It provides the air that we breathe, redistributes water and warmth, and shields us from harmful radiation. It is important that we understand and monitor the atmosphere – what it is made of, how it interacts with different ecosystems, and how it is changing and influencing Earth's climate.
Satellites are essential for studying Earth's atmosphere. From space, we are able to measure and monitor ozone, water vapour, pollution, aerosols and clouds on a global scale. This information supports research and international efforts to ensure a more sustainable future.
Canada currently operates three active space assets in atmospheric science:
- The SCISAT satellite is operated by the Satellite Operations group at CSA and measures ozone and ozone depleting substances. It is the only satellite in the world to measure all major greenhouse gases, targeted by the UN Paris Climate Agreement. Moreover, it is the only satellite that can measure hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from space, the family of gases recently added to the controlled list as part of the Kigali amendment to the UN Montreal Protocol. Its instrument scheduling, data production, and validation activities are conducted by the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. As of , it has operated successfully for 17 years, vastly exceeding its design life of between two and five years.
- The OSIRIS instrument is onboard the Swedish Odin satellite and will mark 20 years of successful operations in . The Odin satellite is operated by the Swedish Space Corporation. The University of Saskatchewan is responsible for the instrument, its data production and validation. It measures ozone and air quality gases, is featured in UN ozone assessments reports, and its data production algorithms have been adopted by active NASA missions to increase the data quality of other space instruments.
- The MOPITT instrument continues 20 years of successful operations onboard the NASA Terra satellite and measures Carbon Monoxide (CO), a harmful air pollutant and precursor to ozone depletion. It is the longest-running air pollution instrument in space today and thus provides valuable and consistent data for detecting changes in CO levels over time. The University of Toronto is responsible for MOPITT's operation and raw data and NASA operates both the Terra satellite and manages the data distribution.
Solar-terrestrial science is the study of the near-Earth space environment (or geospace), how it is affected by the Sun, and its complex interactions with the atmosphere. It is also known as the study of space physics and includes space weather.
Space weather refers to variable conditions in space, beginning with eruptions on the Sun, which cause disturbances in the Earth's space environment and magnetic field (e.g. geomagnetic storms). In addition to causing spectacular aurora around the magnetic poles, the electromagnetic radiation and charged particles coming from space, can have a major impact on human activities, from damaging spacecraft electronics and threatening astronaut health to causing power outages on Earth. It is important to understand these phenomena so that we can better predict and respond to potential threats and impacts. Canada has a unique vantage point due to our Northern location, causing our country to more acutely feel the negative impacts of space weather, due to the complicated structure of the magnetic field above Canada. The location of the North magnetic pole is not fixed, and has moved dramatically in recent years.
Solar-terrestrial science and the study of space weather can only be accomplished through international cooperation as it requires observing the Sun, and equipping many locations globally to study the magnetosphere, ionosphere and Earth surface. For that reason, Canada is an active member in the international coordination of space weather activities taking place under the United Nations (UN) Committee On the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS), by leading its space weather expert group, and aligning our initiatives to the space weather roadmap produced by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the International Living with a Star (ILWS) working group.
CSA has a number of activities that contribute to these international efforts:
- The Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada initiative funds a number of ground based instruments spread across Canada's North. This investment provides large amounts of data at a very reasonable cost, and complements space-based observations, similar to how large-scale weather maps are complemented by local weather stations. Thanks to our world-class instrumentation, many international partnerships are created or maintained. National collaboration takes place between CSA, NRCan and DND for the study of space weather, and a significant number of highly-qualified personnel (HQPs) are developed through instrumentation development, operations, and data analysis.
- NASA's Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) has CSA participation. CSA supports the operation of the THEMIS Ground Based Observatories without which the THEMIS satellite would only have data collected along their orbits to perform science, and miss the big picture that leads to magnetic reconnections and the formation of geomagnetic substorms, such as the one that caused the collapse of the Hydro-Quebec network in .
- CASSIOPE and Swarm – ESA's Swarm mission in composed of 3 identical satellites, each sporting the identical Canadian Electric Field Instruments (EFIs). Since , the Canadian CASSIOPE Satellite has joined the Swarm constellation, as a fourth satellite, and is operated by ESA. The CSA supports the analysis of data from instruments on the four satellites by Canadian scientists. Together, the four spacecraft monitor the evolution and different components of the Earth's magnetic field, including the rapidly varying contribution from space weather, as large ionospheric currents generate secondary magnetic fields.
- SMILE - Preparing for the future, the CSA is managing the provision of the Ultraviolet Imager that will be flown on the ESA-China '
Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer' (SMILE) mission. That mission will send a satellite on a highly elliptical orbit and monitor the magnetopause boundary reacting to the incoming solar wind, and the polar auroras that are caused by this energy influx. This science mission will provide a global view of the aurora, both day and night through the use of special filters, and enable the study of the electromagnetic phenomena's that accompany it, and help develop future space weather forecasting products. SMILE was funded by a novel joint CSA-CFI partnership, which is being considered as a funding resource for future space missions.
18.104.22.168 Sun-Earth System Science Data Analysis
The Sun-Earth System Science group funds a portfolio of collaborative research projects between Government Departments and Canadian academic researchers. The objective of this portfolio is to increase the quality of Earth, atmospheric, and space weather models by using datasets from Canada's ground and space-based missions and instruments. The results have been shown to advance various government priorities including the North/Canada's Arctic, recovery of the ozone layer, air quality and transport of air pollutants, atmospheric chemistry, climate change, and greenhouse gases. User departments include Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Defence Research and Development Canada. An additional suite of projects will be solicited through a new funding opportunity published in (i.e., earth system science data analyses and solar-terrestrial science data analyses).
22.214.171.124 Satellite Operations, Space Situational Awareness and CRAMS
Satellite operations include flight operations of CSA satellites, data orders, data acquisitions and antenna use planning, data processing, calibration and distribution, and space and ground segment assets maintenance, operations and improvement. The CSA's Satellite Operations Centre (also known as Mission Control Centre or Primary Control Facility), located in Longueuil, has been in continuous operations since RADARSAT-1's launch in . Today, the operations for SCISAT (launched ), RADARSAT-2 (launched , owned and operated by MDA with an agreement that allows operations from CSA facilities), NEOSSat (launched ), M3MSat (launched ) and the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM, launched ) are conducted from this centre, in partnership with industry subcontractors. Future satellite missions expected to operate from this centre include QEYSSat and WildFireSat. All satellite missions are supported by a network of ground stations (antennas), owned by MDA (at Longueuil and Saskatoon), National Resources Canada (at Gatineau, Inuvik and Prince Albert) and other private entities. The CSA Satellite Operations Centre also supports launch campaigns from international partners such as CNES (France) and DLR (Germany). A backup control facility for RCM is also located in the Ottawa region, should the CSA's HQ facility be unavailable.
Space Situational Awareness
Space Situational Awareness (SSA) refers to the activities and capabilities associated with detecting and tracking artificial and natural threats, predicting and assessing the risks involved, and providing services enabling the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures aiming at protecting space and ground assets. Key considerations in SSA include space debris (both on-orbit close approaches and re-entering space debris), space weather (effects in space and on Earth), near-Earth objects (such as meteors and asteroids), and awareness of capabilities/intentions of operational space assets. Within Satellite Operations, maintaining SSA is important to ensure the safety and longevity of CSA's operational space assets.
The CSA has one space situational awareness mission:
- The Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) was the world's first space telescope dedicated to detecting and tracking asteroids and satellites. It scans space to pinpoint asteroids that may someday pass close to Earth and to search for satellites and space debris as part of Canada's commitment to keeping orbital space safe for everyone. A fraction of the observing time is also being used for space astronomy. In addition to its efforts to locate asteroids, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is a key user of NEOSSat for test and evaluation research in SSA. NEOSSat has been used to demonstrate new SSA capabilities, support DND exercises and to contribute to international defence science and technology collaboration. [REDACTED].
CRAMS (Conjunction Risk Assessment and Mitigation System)
The Conjunction Risk Assessment and Mitigation System (CRAMS) anchors CSA's Space Debris Centre of Expertise, a segment of its satellite operations facility at the forefront of space situational awareness in Canada. CRAMS provides automated, accurate and on-time conjunction (or collision) risk assessment data, almost immediately after the initial notification of a potential close approach. A high degree of automation allows CRAMS to support multiple satellite missions with little to no overhead, providing satellite operators with maximum flexibility to make the right operational decision and minimize mission impacts due to space debris threats. While initially built to support SSA and decision-making for CSA's satellite fleet, the service is now supporting DND's Canadian Space Operations Centre (CANSPOC) and other private sector satellite operators. This provides CSA with a greater SSA picture and helps to ensure a consistent approach and best practices in space debris mitigation.
smartEarth is the CSA's renewed funding initiative related to Earth observation applications development. It fosters a smart use of satellite data to develop solutions to key challenges on Earth and in our everyday lives. Funding opportunities are provided through three different tracks: the Accelerator, the Integrator and the Enabler. smartEarth replaces the CSA's Earth Observation Application Development Program (EOADP), Government Related Initiatives Program (GRIP), and Science and Operational Applications Research (SOAR) Program. The objectives of the smartEarth program are:
- develop innovative satellite data solutions to help meet various needs on Earth and in our everyday lives;
- increase collaboration among Canadian stakeholders;
- enhance expertise, growth and competitiveness in Canada's space sector; and,
- advance scientific knowledge.
The funding available, ranges from $3-6M per call, over a period of one to three years and is usually divided over multiple projects.
126.96.36.199 Planned/Development-stage Missions (not elsewhere identified)
The following sections (188.8.131.52.1 – 184.108.40.206.5) provide information on a number of in-development initiatives aimed at addressing satellite data needs in Canada. [REDACTED]. An initiative in which the CSA and other GC departments are aiming to establish a long-term strategy for Canada's Earth observation assets both in space and on the ground. The five initiatives in this section are all orbital assets, and thus rest with the CSA as primary leads. [REDACTED]. The strategy will also consider academic and industrial inputs in regard to needs, business models, and delivery of assets (orbital or ground).
220.127.116.11.1 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, led by SU, 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, 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.
In light of its importance, an interdepartmental group was established in , led by the CSA, to undertake early stage work to identify a RCM successor. Work carried out to date includes the identification of GoC SAR data needs and technical requirements, captured in a document called the Harmonized User Needs (HUN). The process to create the HUN was rigorous and the OGD data requirements identified within it has informed the way forward for EOSC, an initiative that ultimately aims to ensure that a RCM successor will meet ongoing and anticipated future data requirements. In fact, the HUN is the primary reference document that was included in the request for proposals (RFP) seeking concept studies to identify build, buy or hybrid-based solutions for a RCM successor. An announcement of selected concept study proposals for further development is expected around mid-September.
A recent study, completed by the Avascent Consulting Group on behalf of the CSA, strongly indicates that the full suite of GC SAR data requirements can not solely be met by data that is available on a free and open basis from Canada's international partners. Therefore, there is a clear need to identify concepts that the GC could consider investing in to ensure no data gap beyond the lifespan of RCM (post-). Still, the CSA and its OGD partners recognize the importance of leveraging international partnerships and international data exchange. Extensive work has already been done by the CSA, alongside OGDs to identify opportunities for international data exchange and collaboration that could provide data that meets, or is complementary to, a RCM successor system.
There are several high-level principles that are guiding EOSC work, including the need to:
- Identify a diverse set of solutions
- Remain technology agnostic (i.e., the optimal solution may not be C-Band SAR)
- Seek out innovative business models (i.e., not foregone that it will be a crown-owned system)
- Be adaptable to evolving needs (i.e., generate data for emerging and new applications)
- Involve industry early
- Enhance innovation and science excellence in Canada
- Be open to international and/or commercial partnerships
Overall, EOSC is one of SU's most important initiatives given that over 50 applications and services managed by over a dozen federal departments rely on SAR data to meet their mandate and program objectives. Partner departments have been clear that they expect to have continued access to SAR data post-RCM, and most expect to require even greater amounts of this type of data to meet their mandate and program objectives moving forward.
18.104.22.168.2 Canadian Atmospheric Sounding Satellite (CASS)
The Canadian Atmospheric Sounding Satellite (CASS) is a mission to maintain continuity with two active space assets: the SCISAT satellite and the OSIRIS instrument on the Swedish Odin satellite. CASS is designed to measure ozone and ozone depleting substances. Apart from SCISAT, which is far past is original planned life, it would be the only satellite capable of measuring the profiles of all major greenhouse gases, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). CASS would measure these gases closer to the Earth's surface than SCISAT, as requested through user needs by ECCC and hundreds of researchers worldwide, providing measurements that are required for reporting against the UN Paris Climate Agreement and the Montreal Protocol and its Kigali amendment. Industrial partners to date include Magellan Aerospace and ABB in Quebec. The lead client department is ECCC and almost 20 Canadian academic researchers are part of the mission team. Over 300 academic research institutions worldwide would use its data (this is the current list of SCISAT data users). While the full mission is currently unfunded, [REDACTED] both proposed instruments have been studied through multiple STDP projects and mission concept studies over the past decade.
The planned WildFireSat mission is a collaboration between the CSA, the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), and the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO), both, part of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to monitor all active wildfires in Canada from space on a daily basis. This mission is currently funded and will demonstrate its innovative technology and establish an initial operational capability. Its launch is planned towards the end of .
The primary goal of WildFireSat is to support wildfire management. It will provide more precise information on smoke and air quality conditions and enable us to more accurately measure the carbon emitted by wildfires, an important requirement of international agreements on carbon reporting.
WildFireSat will reduce wildfire losses through more precise wildfire monitoring, preventing disastrous wildfires through improved decision making. It will allow us to better protect our resources, infrastructure, and environment by providing better situational awareness and improve to make informed decisions about defending communities and avoiding unnecessary evacuations. This will help reduce health problems associated with smoke and air pollution. The mission will solidify Canada as a world leader in wildfire management and research and in the deployment of breakthrough wildfire management technology in space.
WildFireSat is finalizing its Initial Planning and Identification Phase (Phase A). This phase involved two industrial consortia, one led by MDA with participation of INO, ABB, Neptec, SFL and Euroconsult, and another one led by Honeywell with participation of INO, ABB, NGC, ITRES, Urthecast and SkyWatch. Each consortium has produced a unique mission concept for consideration in follow-up phases of mission development.
22.214.171.124.4 Arctic Observing Mission (AOM)
The proposed Arctic Observing Mission (AOM) would deliver unprecedented new observational capacity for weather, climate, air quality and space weather, over Canada and other northern regions, though benefits will extend well beyond the geographical coverage area of this mission.
The broad objective is to address the observation gap over the North for weather, climate and air quality data at spatial and temporal coverages comparable to that provided by Geostationary (GEO) satellites for North America, Europe and Asia, to improve GC operations and service delivery in the areas of weather, climate and air quality. The mission would also aim to collect authoritative data on greenhouse gas and air quality species over northern latitudes (~40-90°N); and, to quantify natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks to inform GC decision-making and policy development around climate change mitigation and adaptation and reducing greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions.
[REDACTED] AOM is currently in Phase 0, [REDACTED].
126.96.36.199.5 Aerosols – Clouds, Convection, Precipitation (A-CCP)
Surface air temperatures in Canada are increasing due to growing greenhouse gas concentrations at twice the rate of the global average. Similarly, precipitation patterns are changing and are expected to continue to alter over the coming decades. With these altered patterns come changes to soil moisture, which can be crucial for much of Canada's marginal agriculture. Canada's resilience to the impacts of climate change, including Canada's national security and economic state, will benefit greatly from improvements to environmental modelling and prediction on timescales spanning days to decades. Measurements made by the proposed NASA's Aerosols – Clouds, Convection, Precipitation (A-CCP) observing system mission will address knowledge and information gaps that will lead to improvements in long-term climate projections, near-term predictions of weather, and air pollutants/aerosols and surface hydrology.
NASA expressed interest in partnering with the CSA, ECCC, Canadian universities, and industry by offering to fly Canadian-built and operated instruments on a larger NASA spacecraft, thereby capitalizing on Canada's long-standing expertise in innovative Earth Observation instruments. The CSA, with partners, has already been developing these instruments, including: the Spatial Heterodyne Observations of Water instrument (SHOW), the Aerosol Limb Imager (ALI), and the Thin Ice Cloud Far Infrared Experiment (TICFIRE). If Canada is able to respond to this offer, the unique measurements made by these instruments will improve our understanding of climate change, advancing key national priorities now and in the coming decades. It will also provide guidance on atmospheric observations that are required to improve Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, air quality forecasts, and Earth System Models (ESMs). While not yet fully funded, the mission is currently in Phase 0, with Phase A projected to begin in Fall of and launch in Fall of . A-CCP would have a 5 year primary mission, [REDACTED].
1.2.2 Major Files and Initiatives
188.8.131.52 RADARSAT-2 data credit
On , the GC transitioned from RADARSAT-2 (R-2) to the RADARSAT Constellation Mission as the primary source of radar imagery for departmental operations. RADARSAT-2 imagery is still available to departments who are able to pay for it. This "
user-pay" system is coordinated by the CSA.
Launched in , R-2 is the second in a series of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Earth observation satellites funded by the Government of Canada under the RADARSAT Program. The R-2 mission is a public-private-partnership that is governed by the R-2 Master Agreement (R-2 MA), a contract between the CSA and Canadian firm MDA. MDA owns and operates the satellite and related ground infrastructure, and sells data commercially around the world. The CSA's contribution (both monetary and in-kind) to MDA for the construction of the satellite and ground infrastructure was a pre-payment (a "
credit") for Government departments to access R-2 imagery. The R-2 data credit ended on and departments switched to using RCM imagery. However, demands for SAR imagery by departments, primarily DND, have increased beyond the capacity of RCM. A user-pay model for continued access to R-2 data has been instituted (starting ). Additionally, should there be an unexpected system failure that degrades the capability of RCM, user departments will require rapid access to SAR imagery as an emergency back-up. R-2 is the most suitable source of imagery to meet these needs.
Decision Point and Timelines
No decision required at this time. The CSA will continue to coordinate the user-pay system based on MOUs with user departments.
184.108.40.206 Satellite Communications and ESCP
Canada was the third nation with communication satellites in space and the first to establish a domestic communication system for distribution of TV and telephony on a national basis. With a vibrant commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) industry now in place, CSA maintains a satellite communications program to support research and development (R&D), provide policy-related technical advice and for specialized needs such as support to the Department of National Defence (DND).
Commercial SATCOM infrastructure and services play a critical role in Canada and for the delivery of government programs, including for delivery of broadband services to remote and rural communities, provision of navigation/positioning services and mobile services to aircraft and vessels. Canada, through Innovation, Science and Economic Development's (ISED's) Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), has provided $85M to Telesat and [REDACTED] for the development of technologies related to constellations of Low Earth Orbit satellites. ISED has also committed to purchase $600M of broadband services once Telesat's LEOVantage constellation is operational.
In regards to SATCOM, CSA now plays a fairly focussed role. Through its SATCOM program the CSA provides:
- a technology advisory role to DND, to Public Services and Procurement Canada, to ISED and for briefing to central agencies (PCO, TBS, Finance) in relation to their interaction with private sector SATCOM firms or design of government satellite-related initiatives;
- specialised CSA facilities at the David Florida Laboratory in Ottawa, available to SATCOM equipment manufacturers for testing;
- technical advice to DND for the planning and the business case of the Enhanced Satellite Communications Project – Polar (ESCP), under the framework of a supporting arrangement.
- Support for SATCOM R&D via CSA's STDP program (where it makes up a small percentage of expenditures) and via our participation in the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES).
Decision Point and Timelines
CSA's internal SATCOM activities do not face any immediate key decision points.
Outside of CSA's activities, there are several upcoming developments that will affect the SATCOM industry in Canada and government capabilities.
ESCP, a DND led-initiative, [REDACTED], would be the most important government SATCOM project in Canada in recent years. ESCP is currently planned to be a two-satellite system aimed to provide military services in the arctic by the end of the decade to complement other DND SATCOM services and arrangements with allies. ESCP is featured in Strong Secure and Engaged – Canada's Defence Policy.
An initial RFI was issued for ESCP in . Further to Option Analysis activities over the last year to establish specifications and assess cost, a business case is undergoing approval within DND. [REDACTED]. DND is expected to call on CSA's assistance for this multi-year phase.
The CSA only provides advisory services under a supporting arrangement. [REDACTED]. You will be briefed about any significant future developments, issues or required decisions/actions.
On the commercial side, Telesat Canada is expected to announce the prime contractor to build its LEO SATCOM constellation in early Fall . This decision could drive significant industry and innovation activity within Canada and beyond for several years and lead to a transformational connectivity solution for Canada's rural and remote regions.
1.3 Space Exploration
1.3.1 Core Activities
Building on the GC's governing space strategy and vision, the Space Exploration Branch mission is "
to lead Canada's Space Exploration Program and contribute to the human and robotic exploration of the Solar System and space-based astronomical observations of the Universe in partnership with the global space exploration community, Canadian industry and academia to inspire all Canadians."
The space exploration stakeholder community includes Canadian industry, academia, other government departments, and foreign space organizations. Through consultation with these stakeholders, two space exploration priorities have been established: to expand Canadian human presence in space and to advance knowledge of the Solar System and the Universe through space-based systems.
The Space Exploration program is composed of three program elements: Human Spaceflight Infrastructure and Operations, Planetary Sciences, and Space-based Astronomy.
220.127.116.11 Human Exploration
18.104.22.168.1 International Space Station (ISS) Robotics Operations
The ISS is an orbiting scientific laboratory where ground-breaking research is carried out by astronauts in the microgravity environment of space. The ISS program is governed by a treaty-level Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and by bilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and each cooperating space agency, including the CSA. The IGA spells out the terms of participation, including the rights and obligations of each partner, and MOUs describe these roles and responsibilities in more detail. In addition to the IGA and MOU, various Implementing Arrangements are concluded as needed between NASA and partner agencies.
Canada's participation in the ISS program is part of an IGA signed in with the United States (U.S.), the European Union represented by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan. An updated IGA, which includes Russia, was signed in . The Canadian Space Station Program (CSSP) Major Crown Project (MCP) was initially approved in .
Canada's main contribution to the ISS is the Mobile Servicing System (MSS). The main function of the MSS was to be on the forefront of all ISS assembly tasks and currently it has evolved to support all ISS cargo logistics (including the capture of visiting cargo spacecraft) and external maintenance activities. The MSS consists of three main elements.
- The Space Station Remote Manipulator System (commonly known as Canadarm2): Launched in , the large manipulator (robotic) arm - a larger, more advanced version of the original Canadarm used on the Space Shuttle - is used to move large components from visiting space vehicles and attach them to the ISS.
- Mobile Base System: Launched in , this is a trolley that transports Canadarm2 and payloads along the length of the ISS.
- Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (commonly known as Dextre): Launched in , the special purpose dexterous manipulator is a robot best described as a two-armed robot that supports ISS maintenance and logistics by removing and replacing critical electronic units and payloads that are stored on the outside of the ISS.
As a full partner of the ISS Program, Canada shares the responsibility of managing the ISS activities with the U.S. Government, Russia, Japan and Europe (represented by ESA). As per Article 7 of the IGA, Canada's responsibilities, undertaken by the CSA, are
- management of its own CSSP, including its utilization activities;
- systems engineering and integration of the Canadian elements provided to the ISS;
- development and implementation of detailed safety requirements and plans for the Canadian-provided elements; and
- supporting the U.S. in planning, coordination and execution of the integrated operation of the ISS.
Moreover, the CSSP has enabled Canada to maintain its leadership role in space robotics owing to the success of the Canadarm. MDA provides support, expertise and direct contributions (under a Logistics & Sustaining Engineering sole source contract) for the majority of the CSSP. The Program has enhanced Canada's reputation as a country that honours its commitments among its international partners and is able to contribute with reliable equipment on the cutting edge of space technology.
22.214.171.124.2 ISS Utilization & Life Sciences
Future human exploration of space is expected to go beyond low earth orbit (LEO) to destinations such as the Moon and Mars. These expeditions will require extended periods of weightlessness, exposure to space radiation, and extreme isolation, all of which are linked to substantial health and performance risks. To decrease these risks, the CSA's Health and Life Sciences (HLS) and ISS Projects groups select and implement Canadian scientific activities on the ISS. HLS also supports scientific activities on Earth that refine and strengthen research destined for ISS and that demonstrate how space science activities can advance knowledge of terrestrial parallels of space health problems, such as osteoporosis, aging and inactivity.
Canada has access to a defined share of the ISS's resources (crew-time, for example), for use for scientific and other activitiesFootnote 1. Since , CSA has utilized Canada's share of the ISS, to maximize our return on this significant investment. Working in close collaboration with international partners and Canadian universities, the CSA evaluates and selects proposed studies, defines and integrates associated mission requirements into overall ISS operations, and ensures ground and on-orbit activities are carried out successfully.
In , eight Canadian studies were carried out in order to investigate the effects on humans of a 6-month mission on the ISS. In addition, two new Canadian instruments developed by Canadian industry were commissioned on the ISS: a bio-analytical (Bio-A) and a bio-monitoring (Bio-M) system. The Bio-A System can analyze components (i.e. biomarkers) of blood. The Bio-M System is a wearable device that monitors heart function and other key health parameters. These devices will increase the research capabilities of the ISS and have the potential to improve healthcare delivery on Earth.
The coming years will see an increase in Canadian scientific utilization activities on the ISS due to increased ISS Crew size, made possible by the new US Commercial Crew Vehicles which can carry more astronauts than the current Russian Soyuz capsule. Also, the CSA is working to further expand the capabilities of ISS crew to analyze blood and other samples for health-relevant biomarkers (the MicroPrep project).
126.96.36.199.3 Canadian Astronauts
Canada's astronauts embody the spirit of the Canadian Space Program and their courage and commitment are a source of inspiration to Canadians. The main job of Canadian astronauts is to develop, support, train, and fly on international space missions. Their unique qualifications, experience and expertise help further scientific research and advance technology development. They also play a key role in raising awareness about Canada's activities in space and inspiring youth to explore the fields of science and technology.
The Canadian Astronaut Program was created in when Canada recruited its first six astronauts: Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Ken Money, Steve MacLean, Robert Thirsk and Bjarni Tryggvason. This astronaut recruitment was in response to an invitation by the United States to fly Canadian astronauts as Payload Specialists aboard NASA's Space Shuttle. Since then, the CSA conducted three additional astronaut recruitment campaigns, in : Chris Hadfield, Julie Payette, Dave Williams, in : Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques, and most recently in : Jenni Sidey-Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk. Canadian astronauts have participated in a total of 17 space flights. The last three flights, which are termed long-duration missions, allowed astronauts Robert Thirsk, Chris Hadfield and David Saint-Jacques to spend approximately six months each aboard the ISS; far longer than previous flights. They have conducted scientific experiments in space, performed space walks and operated the Canadian and Japanese robotic manipulators on the Space Shuttle and the ISS.
The Canadian Astronaut Office was created in ; its mandate is to:
- Recruit and maintain a Canadian astronaut corps;
- Develop human spaceflight expertise to meet the needs of the Canadian Space Program;
- Participate in Canadian Space Program activities that rely upon or benefit from knowledge, skills, and attitudes of trained astronauts;
- Manage the activities, training, and missions of Canadian astronauts;
- Increase public awareness of the Canadian Space Program and its benefits; and
- Help stimulate interest of young Canadians in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related education and careers.
188.8.131.52.4 Lunar Gateway
The Lunar Gateway "
the Gateway" is the next major international collaboration in human space exploration. It is a key pillar of an ambitious plan by NASA and the ISS partners, including Canada, to send humans beyond low earth orbit and deeper into space than we have ever been. About one-fifth the size of the ISS, the Gateway will be a small outpost in a Lunar orbit designed to serve as a science laboratory; a testbed for new technologies; a rendezvous location for exploration of the surface of the Moon; a mission control center for operations on the Moon; and an eventual stepping stone for future human missions to Mars. The development of the Gateway will put emphasis on stimulating new commercial opportunities while advancing plans for the sustainable exploration of the Moon and other destinations in deep space. With the first two core modules already in development and set to be launched as early as the end of , NASA is moving at an aggressive pace to keep pace with the U.S. Administration' direction to return humans to the Moon by .
Canada was invited by NASA to participate in the planning of the Gateway. Canada committed to provide a next-generation space robotics system, the Canadarm3, which was officially announced by the Prime Minister in ; thus becoming the first international partner to commit to Gateway. The Canadarm3 could launch as early as , in sync with other international partners' contributions and commercial reusable Human Lunar Landers, descent, and ascent modules.
To manage Canada's participation in the Lunar Gateway, the CSA has created a Gateway Program within the space exploration branch. The Gateway Program will manage both the Gateway External Robotic Interfaces (GERI) and Canadarm3 projects, lead negotiations with NASA (working closely with Policy's International Relations group), participate in and lead operations planning, coordinate Canada's science utilization of the Gateway with NASA and international partners, and identify and secure roles for Canada in Lunar surface operations.
Detailed description and features of Canadarm3:
The following are the main elements/functions of the Canadian autonomous robotic system concept for the Lunar Gateway:
- Two robotic manipulators – a large and small arm, with the ability to self-deploy and relocate to multiple locations on the Gateway using pre-installed robotic interfaces, and equipped with various sensors and cameras to provide situational awareness and inspection capabilities. They will have autonomous capabilities allowing them to perform tasks with minimal intervention by crew or ground, and will be designed to allow their components to be robotically transferred to the inside of the Gateway for in-situ maintenance by the crew. Autonomy and self-reliance is needed for long term deep space missions, and will be critical requirements for future missions such as the one to Mars.
- Gateway External Robotic Interfaces (GERI) – these critical elements of the robotic system will be mounted on the various modules and elements of the Gateway, allowing the two robotic manipulators to walk along the Gateway and position themselves to capture and berth approaching vehicles, move objects around, reconfigure station modules or support crew during space walks. The initial set of interfaces is partly funded through the Gateway announcement and partly through cooperation with NASA, leveraging Canada's obligations under the ISS Common System Operating Costs (CSOC).
- Robotics integration – [REDACTED].
- Specialized suite of tools, carried in a Tool Caddy – the Tool Caddy is designed to allow the large robotic arm to relocate while carrying its tools and payloads. This innovative development is the result of lessons learned from ISS robotics operations and seeks to distribute specific robotic capabilities to tools rather than embedding them within the base robotic arm design. The result is an optimized design that provides for more flexibility, greater operational resiliency and freedom to evolve the robotic system over time through new tools or new software.
- Gateway Robotic Operations Centre – [REDACTED].
184.108.40.206 Robotic Exploration
220.127.116.11.1 Space Astronomy
The scope of CSA's Space Astronomy program encompasses the definition, design, technology development, implementation and use of Canadian scientific instruments and technologies to conduct astronomy from space. Since the late 1990s, Canada has contributed to 12 missions (VLBI, FUSE, ODIN, MOST, Herschel, Planck, ASTROSAT, NEOSSat, James Webb Space Telescope, Hitomi, XRISM, and BRITE). All of these missions, except MOST, have been conducted in partnership with other agencies. Canada typically contributes a science instrument or a sub-system of the space observatory in return for the ability to participate in the scientific activities or a share of the observatory's observation time.
Canada is a sought-after partner in space astronomy missions, as a result of past contributions and its scientific excellence. When it launches in , the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be the most powerful and complex space telescope every built. Collectively, partners will have invested in excess of $10B USD to build and launch JWST. Canada is contributing two critical instruments to JWST. In return for its contribution of approximately $200M, Canada will be granted 5% of observation time.
CSA is also active in three other international space astronomy missions: the Indian Space Research Organisation's ASTROSAT space observatory (through Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope instrument), the BRITE constellation (Canada is responsible for one of the five satellites in the constellation), and JAXA's (Japan's space agency) XRISM mission (science participation enabled through access to testing at the Canadian Light Source at University of Saskatchewan). In addition, the CSA is funding the participation of Canadian scientists to ESA's Euclid and IXPE missions and NASA's New Horizons. The Canadian academic astronomical community () is the largest space science community in Canada, comprised of approximately 293 faculty members, 103 post-doctoral fellows, and 368 graduate students.
18.104.22.168.2 Planetary Science
The scope of CSA's planetary science program encompasses the definition, design, and use of Canadian scientific instruments and technologies as well as science investigations to international planetary missions, and developing Canadian-led planetary missions in order to advance knowledge in the global quest to understand the origin and evolution of planetary bodies, their atmospheres, and their interaction with the solar wind, and to search for life beyond Earth. Planetary targets include the Moon, Mars and its moons, asteroids and other planets in the solar system. The CSA Planetary Science vision is to ensure that Canadian industry and scientists are at the frontiers of the Solar System.
The Phoenix Mission, in , marked the first time that Canada, as a nation, landed on the surface of Mars. Since the incorporation of planetary science within the Space Exploration program, Canada has contributed three planetary science instruments to US missions: a meteorological station on NASA's Mars Phoenix lander, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument, part of the Mars Science Laboratory, on board NASA's Curiosity rover, and the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) instrument on NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. These have been implemented at a combined mission lifecycle cost of approximately $130M over twenty years.
At the moment, two of these planetary science instruments are operating in space. The APXS instrument on the Mars Curiosity rover has been analyzing the chemical composition of rocks on Mars since . The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), which is being used to make asteroid Bennu the most precisely mapped object in the solar system. In return for the provision of OLA, Canada will own 4% of the samples of Bennu coming back to Earth in .
CSA is also funding the participation of Canadian scientists on the following international missions: NASA's InSight Mars lander (in-depth study of the crust, mantle and core of Mars), NASA's Mars 2020 (search for signs of ancient microbial life, test technology for future exploration missions and collect samples for future return to Earth) and ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (better understand methane and other atmospheric gases present in small concentrations).
Under the current Canada – ESA Cooperation Agreement, Canadian industry is also involved in ESA's ExoMars rover mission (providing the rover's drivetrain and suspension and contributing to the Advanced Drive Electronics.) as well as the Mars Sample Return mission campaign. Opportunities in development include an international partnership for a Mars Ice Mapper Mission and several other opportunities under the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program.
Given that Canada does not have space mission launch capability, planetary entry, descent and landing capability, nor assets in the Deep Space Network that allow data to be transmitted from deep space missions, all planetary missions are undertaken in partnership with other space agencies. As the international science community shares common long term science goals for planetary science, and international contributions are valued by foreign space agencies on a no-exchange-of-funds basis, Canada is budget-limited rather than opportunity-limited at this time.
22.214.171.124 Planned/Development-stage Missions (not elsewhere identified)
The CSA regularly reviews Canadian planetary science, space astronomy and space health priorities via consultation with the Canadian space exploration community. Potential missions that are identified undergo preparatory studies (e.g., science definition studies, concept studies, science maturation studies or Phase 0s) to compile the relevant information necessary to enable coherent decision making.
On the planetary sciences side, the Moon and Mars remain high priority targets for the Canadian community. CSA will continue to assess opportunities for future Canadian contributions to partner missions, such as NASA Discovery and New Frontiers mission opportunities and ESA's European Large Logistic Lander's (EL3) initial mission. Potential major Canadian contributions to lunar surface exploration are also starting to be explored in greater detail. Identifying the major Canadian capabilities beyond LEAP that have the greatest potential to support expanding human presence to the lunar surface ("
Canadians on the Moon") will be of high priority. This could include preparatory activities into areas such as In-Situ Resourced Utilisation, robotics and AI, mobility systems, nuclear power, healthcare technologies and food production.
On the space astronomy side, CSA has or is presently studying possible (i.e., moderate to large) contributions to several missions. These include a contribution to LiteBIRD, a JAXA mission, based on Canada's expertise in detector system readout electronics. Other opportunities include ESA's Cosmic Vision M5 SPICA mission as well as CASTOR, a possible Canadian led 1m-class telescope mission.
As the international space exploration community sees increased focus on commercial activities, CSA will also identify, explore and exploit commercial and positioning opportunities for Canada's private sector to generate early and tangible benefits via its space exploration program.
1.3.2 Major Files and Initiatives
126.96.36.199 International Space Station (ISS) Continuation beyond
The maintenance and use of the ISS is expected to continue beyond . To date, the ISS has served as a space laboratory to advance knowledge and demonstrate technologies to support permanent human presence in space. Going forward, the ISS will continue to enable cutting edge micro-gravity research which will serve as a test-bed for deep space exploration, and a model for the commercialization of low-Earth orbit space applications.
CSA and other ISS partners (e.g., US, ESA) are actively considering whether and how to continue their participation and commitment to ISS [REDACTED].
Decision Point and Timelines
Based on the existing framework, Canada could continue to participate in the ISS until it actively terminates its participation or the ISS reaches its end of life. [REDACTED].
188.8.131.52 Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP)
The aim of LEAP is to expand and prepare Canada's space sector, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, for future exploration missions by offering technology development and in-space demonstration, science and mission opportunities in lunar orbit, on the Moon's surface, further into cis-lunar and even Mars.
LEAP is broken down into two separate portfolios of activities:
- LEAP-Health focuses on the development of space health solutions that will also contribute to health care in remote communities.
- LEAP Science & Technology (LEAP S&T) focuses on the development and demonstration of novel space technologies and science missions for the Moon and beyond.
On the Government of Canada announced a new Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) with an investment of $150M over five years.
LEAP S&T will support space technology development and in-space demonstration, as well as science missions. Importantly, LEAP S&T will generate the technical and scientific knowledge that may be required to support Canada's participation in future international deep space exploration missions. E.g., the contribution of critical components to future international missions to the Moon and Mars. The portfolio of activities that will be carried out as part of LEAP S&T include:
- technology demonstration of a micro rover
- development and demonstration of two science payloads
- a contribution to the ESA-led Mars Sample Return Mission; and
- funding for lower TRL lunar technology development.
The advancement of digital and autonomous healthcare solutions needed for human travel into deep space represents significant potential to improve quality and increase access to vital health services across Northern and remote communities. Through the "
Digital Healthcare Partnership" initiative announced in Budget , the CSA is:
- Developing a shared national vision and technology roadmap to address healthcare challenges common to both deep space and remote and Northern environments
- Supporting collaborative R&D initiatives to identify Canadian capabilities with the aim of improving delivery of healthcare to astronauts in deep space and to medically-isolated populations on Earth
- Working to establish collaborations with healthcare and Northern and remote communities to facilitate early demonstration of promising healthcare solutions and to support their adoption
Decision Point and Timelines
[REDACTED], the CSA is in the process of implementing various LEAP activities including several open announcements of Opportunities for capacity demonstration, technology development and science instruments.
The following decisions will be required in the near term future:
Development of a national vision for deep space exploration healthcare, a northern demonstration site and to develop healthcare innovations with our partners by .
The exploration of the Moon is accelerating as several nations across the globe are developing space missions, both crewed and uncrewed. NASA has invested significant funding to transform the procurement model for lunar missions towards a more commercial model. NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program is planning to launch up to two lunar missions per year under this new commercial model. NASA's CLPS program is the main partner through which CSA's LEAP will deliver missions to the Moon. [REDACTED].
The LEAP S&T portfolio includes the following elements:
- Contributions for technology development to enable Canadian companies to insert themselves into the supply chain of Lunar delivery service providers (e.g. CLPS contractors).
- Contributions to enable the in-space demonstration of Canadian technologies to support future lunar exploration.
- Up to three science and technology payloads flying to the Moon. The nominal payload suite envisaged at the moment includes one small rover and up to two science instruments. These will likely fly on at least two independent launches to the lunar surface.
- Contracts for the development of technologies and mission concepts required for future lunar missions.
- Grants and scholarships to enable Canada's lunar science community to grow and participate in several lunar missions.
This initiative is currently seeking guidance from the CSA's Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare, a group of diverse individuals from across the nation with expertise in medical, space, Indigenous relations, and technology innovation. Exceptional circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic have result in a six month extension of the Advisory Councils mandate. In addition to developing a national vision and roadmap on deep space healthcare, the council is advising on developing partnerships with Indigenous and remote communities, which is essential to finding shared solutions to remote healthcare challenges. Partnering with remote and Indigenous communities will require concerted engagement effort on the CSA's part in the near-term given that the agency has little to no experience working with these stakeholders (see section 184.108.40.206 Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare for more info).
In order to provide a major deep space healthcare niche for Canada, the agency must be cognizant of international timelines for Gateway, Lunar Surface and Mars. These timelines are one of the key drivers influencing our timelines if we are to contribute healthcare solutions to these missions.
At this point, the agency does not have a mature healthcare innovation for contribution to international exploration efforts. Work is underway to develop collaborative R&D initiatives and is crucial to the agency's involvement in deep space healthcare.
The Advisory Council report is expected in , which will recommend a path forward for the agency as well as a role for Canada in deep space healthcare.
220.127.116.11 Food Production
CSA has initiated activities in the food production domain, as described in the Space Strategy, "
…to help improve the accessibility of food across Canada, including the North, with the aim of, one day, taking these lessons learned to help astronauts grow food off Earth". The CSA is presently focused on engagement with the Canadian food production community, working with OGDs to assess the overlaps between space-based food production and terrestrial food security challenges with additional preparatory activities planned for the coming years.
Since the release of the Space Strategy, the CSA has initiated several activities associated with consultation with the Canadian food production community and formalized CSA's participation in the Naurvik Initiative. The Naurvik Initiative is joint initiative between CSA, NRC, AAFC and the non-profit Arctic Research Foundation that recently installed a self-contained plant production system in the community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut capable of growing food indoors in the remote and harsh Arctic climate.
Decision Point and Timelines (if applicable)
Although community consultation is on-going the CSA team's working vision for food production includes:
By the mid-2030s, Canada will have sought after food production capabilities for long-duration human spaceflight and provide one or several critical systems to an international partner lunar surface food system.
The on-going community consultation and developed planning products will be used to inform decision making on potential future Government of Canada food production activities. The CSA team is working to have compiled all of the relevant documentation and present a CSA Gate 2 in mid- and if successful, consider a Government of Canada level funding request soon after.
CSA has only recently initiated its activities in food production. Its community consultation activities and initial preparatory activities need to be completed so as to identify if this is a valid capability area for Canada to consider as a possible contribution to future space exploration mission. Work is on-going to identify Canadian strengths and to develop the collaborative links with relevant OGD partners (AAFC, NRC) as well as international partners (e.g. NASA, DLR).
18.104.22.168 Mars Ice Mapper (MIM)
MIM was announced in the US Presidential Budget for , with funding to be confirmed through the appropriations committee process in /. The primary mission instrument will be a Canadian instrument using L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to locate and characterise the sub-surface water ice deposits on Mars, and therefore support future human exploration (landing sites near more habitable environments and fuel production).
MIM is the descendant of the previously proposed Next Mars Orbiter mission (NEMO), that was announced in Budget . The mission has the same science and exploration objectives of NEMO – namely – Mars surface observation to locate sub-surface ice.
Decision Point and Timelines
The first phase (Phase A) of the MIM project will seek approval from the IIRB in fiscal year -.
Canada, the US, and Japan will be collaborating on MIM. Letters of Intent will be exchanged between partners and a MOU between partners will be signed that defines Roles & Responsibilities.
Planned contributions are as follows:
[REDACTED]. An extended Phase 0 will be requested to the Internal Investment Review Board (IIRB) in for ongoing technical support as the mission is refined.
1.4 Space Science and Technology Branch / Space Capacity Development Program
The Space Science and Technology (SS&T) Branch's mission is to ensure the Canadian space sector's workforce meets Canadian innovation needs, to increase mission readiness for future Canadian missions and to increase the Canadian space sector's competitiveness. The SS&T Branch falls under the CSA's Space Capacity Development program along with the Communications Branch's STEM activities (more details below),
The space science and technology stakeholder community includes Canadian industry, academia, and foreign space organizations. The space science and technology branch uses the CSA's Class Grants and Contributions program to support innovation in industry and academia and the development of highly qualified personnel in STEM occupations at the post-secondary level.
The Space Science and Technology Branch focuses on three program elements: 3 funding programs, the Partnership with the European Space Agency, and Facilities and Expertise.
1.4.1 Core Activities
22.214.171.124 Funding Programs
126.96.36.199.1 Space Technology Development Program (STDP)
The CSA's Space Technology Development Program (STDP) is an iconic program. It has been operating for over 20 years and has supported the development of well over 400 space related technologies through R&D contracts and more recently with the addition of non-repayable contributions. It provides an established, recognized and centralized point of contact for CSA and industry on technology development in priority areas, it guarantees an identified (earmarked) long term budget for technology development through consistent, coordinated, strategic, fair and transparent processes.
Its main objective is to develop strategic technologies that have a strong potential to meet the future needs of the Canadian Space Program and the growth of the Canadian space industry. The other objectives of the program are to:
- Reduce the technological uncertainties associated with planned Canadian space missions;
- Stimulate industrial innovation in space-related technologies in preparation for potential future space missions;
- Support the development of Canadian industrial capabilities in the area of space technologies for the purpose of increasing the commercial potential of Canadian space companies.
STDP's annual operating budget is $20M and in the recent years around 60% has been for non-refundable contributions in support of commercial space technology development and 40% for contracts that support the needs of the CSA to develop and de-risk technology for future space missions.
188.8.131.52.2 Science, technology and expertise development in academia (STEDiA)
The STEDiA initiative supports post-secondary institutions' capacity to capture global opportunities and contribute to the growth of the Canadian space sector by funding the development of space science, technology and expertise required for future commercial and government-driven space missions.
Its main objectives are to:
- Attract and train post-secondary students and young professionals in space-STEM-related fields;
- Maintain and retain researchers and technical experts in Canada;
- Encourage new science and technology ideas to mature into the innovations of tomorrow; and
- Support industry-academia collaborations.
This initiative supports, mainly with grants, Canadian post-secondary institutions' research projects that offer hands-on experience in space-like missions to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post doctoral fellows through activities such as the Flight and fieldwork for the Advancement Science and Technology (FAST) and the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP). More information on CCP is found below.
In order to offer consistent funding to academia, the CSA publishes a FAST Announcement of Opportunity (AO) approximately every two years, with the next AO being planned for . There have been 7 FAST AOs since under which 122 grants for space R&D projects were awarded to post-secondary institutions. The value of the grants varies between $100K and $500K each for a total budget of approximately $4M per AO.
STEDiA encourages industry-university collaboration by supporting Industrial Research Chairs (IRC) that are also financed by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and that are of interest to the space sector. In view of NSERC's consolidation of all its partnership programs (including IRCs) into its new Alliance program, STEDiA is looking into the best mechanism to continue supporting industry-university collaborations.
Finally, STEDiA also supports Canadian postsecondary student participation in conferences such as the International Astronautical Conference (IAC) or training opportunities provided by other space agencies or international organizations such as internships in NASA research facilities (NASA I²).
184.108.40.206.3 Capacity Demonstration
Capability Demonstration (hereafter Cap Demo) is a pillar of the CSA's Space Capacity Development Program created with the vision to bridge the gap between basic Research & Development and the operational utilization of technologies in a space mission. Cap Demo aims to provide platforms to test and demonstrate science and technologies to the CSA's two other operational programs, other government departments, academia, industry and non-profit organizations. Platforms include the Mars Analog Terrain (behind CSA HQ), rover prototypes and testbeds, and even access to aircraft, sounding rockets, stratospheric balloons and CubeSats.
The objectives of the Cap Demo initiative are to fund, provide, and facilitate a cadence of frequent, rapid, and responsive space and pre-space demonstrations in response to the needs of the Canadian space sector and fill the demonstration gaps of the space innovation value chain to help achieve:
- Accelerated access to market for new technologies, services and capacities
- Increased readiness of space science and technology for the Canadian space sector to capture international commercial and mission opportunities
- Scientific research excellence and leadership in space science
- Increased possibility of success of future Canadian missions with reduced technological and technical risks
- Training of HQP, and attracting/retaining talent
220.127.116.11 Partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA)
The CSA's longstanding collaboration with ESA is formalized through a treaty-level Cooperation Agreement. This Agreement enables the Canadian space sector to participate in ESA programs which provides significant benefits including space flight opportunities, market access to Europe and advancement for Canadian science and technology. The Agreement was renewed in for an additional 10 years.
Canada covers its share of the ESA General Budget, which is mandatory, and subscribes to numerous ESA optional programs, in the fields of Earth Observation, Space Exploration, SATCOM, Navigation, and General technology development. The annual budget for the Canada-ESA program is approximately 30M$. A significant portion of Canada's investments in ESA optional programs return to Canada in the form of contracts for the Canadian space sector, mainly industry.
The main objectives of the Canada-ESA Program are to:
- Foster innovation and competitiveness by exposing Canadian space organizations to ESA's Programs and activities dedicated to developing space technologies, applications and hardware;
- Maintain or increase the capability of the domestic space sector to successfully contribute to Canadian space endeavours by providing access to ESA's space flight opportunities in order to demonstrate and qualify Canadian space technologies and hardware;
- Facilitate access to European public space markets as well as global space public and private markets, when applicable; and
- Acquire and maintain awareness of the directions of European space policies and of the European space technological, scientific, programmatic and commercial environments to feed the CSA's strategic planning process.
In addition, Canadian participation in ESA programs may:
- Facilitate the participation of Canadian scientists to ESA missions; and
- Facilitate access to ESA's data and/or infrastructures meeting the needs of academia and government departments/agencies.
18.104.22.168 Facilities and Expertise
22.214.171.124.1 David Florida Laboratory (DFL)
DFL has been Canada's national spacecraft assembly, integration and test facility since . DFL provides world class spaceflight qualification facilities, integration cleanrooms for satellite and scientific instruments, and testing services. DFL has held ISO certification for many years with the latest certification being ISO 9001–2015.
DFL operates on a fee-for-service basis with all generated revenues deposited into the Government of Canada's Consolidated Revenue fund. DFL offers thermal testing (60% of all tests in a typical year), structural qualification services (20%) and radio frequency qualification services (20%).
30% of the overall business volume is commercial (from Canadian space companies needing testing) and 70% comes from CSA programs such as RCM.
A great number of DFL thermal, structural, and radio frequency testbeds are unique in Canada. As of mid-, COVID-19 Special Operating Protocols and Measures have been put in place in order to provide services to prioritized Canadian space businesses and programs. The prioritization criteria are
- DFL being the unique solution and
- planned spaceflight hardware or
- CSA program need.
126.96.36.199.2 HQ Labs
CSA headquarters has laboratories, including: clean rooms, electronic labs for testing and assembly (flight and non flight), RF lab, thermal and vacuum lab, optical labs, batteries lab, mechanical lab and a machine shop. There is also a high bay lab for rovers and related activities. The high bay includes an indoor rover working yard for the purpose of testing rovers and their hardware. The labs are led by SS&T Cap Demo and are mostly used by students and junior engineers (for training purpose, supervised by seniors). Activities are supported by a team of technicians and technologists. All activities are related to CSA approved programs or projects like STRATOS, LEAP and Cubesat.
188.8.131.52.3 Analogue Terrain
CSA headquarters possesses an analog terrain outside the building for the purpose of testing rovers and auto guidance systems in a Mars or Moon-like environment with rocks, craters and slopes. There is a high demand for the use of it, from both CSA personnel and also clients from universities and SMEs.
1.4.2 Major Files and Initiatives
184.108.40.206 Stimulus Funding
In an effort to respond to our stakeholders needs and the Minister's call to action in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSA has re-prioritized some of its activities and funding to provide further support to the Canadian space sector during these very difficult times.
As a result, we have almost doubled, by an additional $28M, our short-term financial investments from existing resources into select Space Capacity Development Programs (mostly G&Cs) to support the recovery of the Canadian space sector.
We anticipate an immediate and broad impact as approximately 40 companies (large, medium and small) and 12 universities from across the country will benefit from these additional investments. This will allow Canada's firms and space scientists to maintain their capabilities during the pandemic and also conduct additional innovative research and development projects so that they will be better positioned to take advantage of the economic recovery.
Announcements for these new opportunities have already started and will extend into .
The Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) space mission will demonstrate the capability of distributing quantum keys over long distances, between a ground station on Earth and a satellite in space using the newly developed Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology through a laser link. The satellite platform will also be used to test ground quantum stations and demonstrate the potential of optical communication between space and earth.
Budget allocated funding for the CSA to carry out the QEYSSat mission to test and demonstrate QKD transmission via a platform in space. QKD is an emerging encryption technology that uses light particles and the laws of physics to generate encryption keys to secure information. Current encryption methods, which rely on complex codes to secure information, are expected to be rendered obsolete within the next decade by the exceptional processing power of quantum computers. QEYSSat will serve as the next step in the advancement of the use of QKD technology over longer distances, after successful demonstration in laboratory environment, on the ground (moving truck, ) and in air (fixed-wing aircraft, ). The success of this mission would help mature QKD technology and eventually enable Canada to have highly secured communications.
Decision Point and Timelines (if applicable)
QEYSSat is expected to launch in . The mission will last approximately 1 year, enough time to demonstrate QKD, with the potential for an extension, should a need be identified and the spacecraft remains in nominal health.
QEYSSat is well-aligned with the mandates of Government departments within the security domain, both complementing and advancing the strategic imperatives of these departments. In particular, CSA has partnered with NRC on QEYSSat for the augmentation of the CSA Quantum Ground Station (QGS) to add an optical communications link. Also, [REDACTED]. This will serve as a secondary ground station for QEYSSat. Finally, since QEYSSat will also serve as a test-bed for collaborating countries, other countries have expressed interest in partnering with CSA on this mission, such as Germany (DLR) and Japan (JAXA).
Honeywell is the prime contractor on the QEYSSat project. Since QEYSSat demonstration aims to provide a platform in space for the Canadian scientific community to validate secure encryption key delivery technology in space, the QEYSSat PI, Dr. Thomas Jennewein, Canada's leading academic researcher in this field at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo, has been tasked to develop agreements with a number of academic institutions in Canada and internationally ([REDACTED]).
It is recommended that CSA, in cooperation with other government departments, prepare the next steps in this technology by exploring the future of QEYSSat and how to integrate this technology into existing communications infrastructure to protect the information for all Canadians. QEYSSat is aligned with the Canadian government priority to support secure communications for the future as stated in the Space Strategy for Canada. It can also position academia and industry to help grow the economy and the HQPs of the future.
A collaboration with CNES (the French space agency) in the annual stratospheric balloon launch campaign that provides opportunities to OGD, industry, academia as well as students to fly their experiments or technology at high altitude (can be over 20 km) over long durations (can be up to 24 hours)
In , the CSA and CNES signed a 10 year renewable MOU on the stratospheric balloon collaboration. Under this agreement, the CSA agreed to build a balloon launch facility adjacent to the Timmins Airport. This facility was completed in and commissioned in . In return, CNES (the provider of the stratospheric balloons) guaranteed that it would launch from this facility 5 times over 10 years (, , , and ). In the years when CNES launched balloons elsewhere (e.g. Kiruna, Sweden and Alice Springs, Australia), Canadian users were guaranteed gondola space. In the 6 campaigns that have been carried out, 42 Canadian payloads have been flown. The majority of users come from academia. As a result, STRATOS contributes significantly to CSA achievements related to future HQPs, STEM and technology readiness.
Decision Point and Timelines
In , CSA and CNES signed a letter of intent committing to renewing the MOU when it expires in . SST will seek IIRB approval to pursue discussions with CNES in the implementation plan for the next 10 years.
The MOU stipulates that both parties should strive to make equal investment in the collaboration. It is estimated that both parties will have invested C$14M in the current MOU. CSA investment includes a large capital investment for the infrastructure in Timmins Airport followed by annual O&M to support balloon campaigns. CNES investment is through the annual O&M in managing the balloon campaign ([REDACTED]). A similar expenditure profile is expected in the new MOU and a significant capital investment is expected in - timeframe. The source funds is the CSA's A-Base, [REDACTED] has already been allocated from the CSA's Budget.
It is recommended that CSA work to continue this collaboration. Further details will be provided in a future presentation to the IIRB. This is a highly successful win-win collaboration between the CSA and CNES. Canadian users gain access to balloon launch opportunities every year and CNES has gained access to a mid-latitude launch site that is highly desirable by the French research community.
220.127.116.11 Canadian CubeSat Project and [REDACTED]
The Canadian CubeSats Project (CCP) is a $8.5M project involving post-secondary students and professors in the development, launch and operations of up to 15 miniature satellites called CubeSats from institutions representing the 13 Canadian provinces and territories. [REDACTED].
The CCP was initiated with the intent of involving and training a number of students from all Provinces and Territories in key competencies and skills required for future work in the space sector. While the first and most important goal is to train students in all aspects of satellite missions, the ultimate outcome is to launch all the CubeSats in space. In order to do this, CSA secured launch opportunities from the International Space Station for all teams through a contract with the company Nanoracks. The official kick-off was in . Overall, 37 organizations are participating in the CCP, thanks to several inter-regional, inter-provincial and international collaborations. CCP has already proved to be a success, with over 500 students from all Provinces and Territories involved, diversified science and technology projects, partnerships with the Canadian Space Industry and a high number of CCP teams conducting outreach activities in the community. CCP has also led to the investment in new infrastructure and the creation of space societies by many of the Academic organizations in order to achieve their space missions. From this emerged a desire for a follow-up initiative, requested by CCP teams Principal Investigators and Academic institutions, in order to maintain momentum and this newly built capacity. [REDACTED].
Decision Point and Timelines
The strength of the CCP initiative is a result of the combination of three main components: funding for space missions in Academia through grants, secured launch opportunities managed by CSA, and mentorship from CSA technical and project management experts. Hence, [REDACTED].
Teams participating in CCP have indicated that the allocated budget was insufficient to complete most projects, resulting in teams having to spend a lot of effort to find additional sources of funding. In addition, [REDACTED].
[REDACTED]. Further details will be provided in a future presentation to the IIRB. CCP and [REDACTED] are aligned with the government's priorities of providing jobs to Canadians by developing students' expertise in space domains; give students hands-on experience and prepare them to enter the job market; and advance space science and/or technology.
There is consequently a need to maintain and continue building a space related capacity in Canadian Academia. Hence, following the release of the Space Strategy in , taking the leadership in initiatives like CCP and [REDACTED] is perfectly aligned with the role that CSA needs to play in the promotion and growth of Canada's space sector.
18.104.22.168 International Space Education Board
The purpose of the International Space Education Board (ISEB) is to provide a mechanism for enhanced cooperation among its Founding Members and Members with a twofold objective of
- increasing literacy achievement in connection with space for various subjects including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and,
- supporting the future workforce needs of space programs.
ISEB was founded by the CSA, ESA, JAXA and NASA on and 6 additional space agencies have since joined ISEB. The non-legally binding charter was renewed for an additional 10 years on . Each Member of ISEB is represented by a senior official (the "
Head of Education") as well as agency experts (members of the "
Representative Working Group"), who meet throughout the year to carry out ISEB's functions.
The flagship activity is the development and implementation of an ISEB student program at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) as well as the establishment of an International Student Zone (ISZ) at IAC where students and industry professionals can gather. The student program consists of networking events, student outreach initiatives, social activities, and opportunities for students to present their research. Each year, the Members develop their respective sponsorship opportunities in order to select students to attend IAC as an ISEB-sponsored student. The CSA publishes an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) on an annual basis valued at $50,000 to support the travel, living and registration expenses of up to 14 Canadian students in this conference.
Decision Point and Timelines
On , authority was granted by the Integrated Investment Review Board (IIRB) at the CSA President's level to publish one AO per year for five fiscal years in order to support the participation of up to 14 students per year in the IAC and the activities organized and coordinated by ISEB. Although the authority to publish the AO has been granted for a 5-year period, the recommended list of student grantees will be presented to the IIRB on an annual basis in June.
ISEB Chairmanship: The CSA chaired ISEB for IAC in Bremen, Germany, and will chair IAC in Paris. The designated chairperson for the CSA will be Marie-Claude Guérard (CSA's Head of Education), who will be supported by members of the Science, Technology and Expertise Development in Academia (STEDiA) team.
CSA internships: Since , ISEB-sponsored students were informed through the AO that they may be offered internship opportunities at the CSA. This decision was made by the CSA President, who strongly encouraged students to apply for internships and managers to hire former ISEB students. Since the beginning of this initiative, 26 students have applied for internship opportunities and 16 have been offered a placement.
2. Supporting Activities
2.1 Communications and STEM (K-12)
2.1.1 Core Communications Activities
The Communications and Public Affairs Directorate is a functional group with a broad mandate encompassing all elements of communications, promotion, media relations, digital services and public affairs. In addition, the directorate also has the responsibility for advancing STEM initiatives for youth in grades K-12. This is a shared responsibility with the Space Science & Technology Branch (which covers STEM at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels). The mission of the directorate is to inform Canadians of the accomplishments of the Canadian space program and inspire the next generation to pursue interests in STEM.
The Communications Directorate is part of a larger communications community within the government that is guided by the Government of Canada's Communications Policy. The Policy gives context and rules for how the Government of Canada enables communication with the public about policies, programs, services and initiatives.
The following are the key functional areas of the CSA's Communications directorate.
- Employee communications: informs employees of government and organisational information and advises the President on internal communications issues. The principal means of communications are employee events (such as all-staff meetings, professional networks), email bulletins, and the Intranet.
- Strategic planning and content development: Dedicated program communications advisors for each CSA program (SU, SE, SST) support each space sector by providing strategic communications advice, by identifying communications priorities and by developing and implementing communications plans for national campaigns.
- Media relations: provides the widest practical dissemination of knowledge on CSA's activities, using their technical expertise on how best to meet the information needs of the news media and the general public. In addition, it coordinates all media queries in accordance with the Communications Policy.
- In -, media relations coordinated 367 media interviews with CSA representatives (out of 557 media requests). There was positive and sustained coverage related to astronaut David Saint-Jacques' mission between and .
- Digital communications provides enhanced information access to the public through the CSA's online communication channels, from the website to social media, by using a keen understanding of the technology and messaging. In addition, it is responsible for building an engaged social media audience.
- The website had more than 3.9 million page views in -.
- The CSA videos have more than 24 million views on all our different platforms.
- The CSA currently has 1.9 million followers on its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube and Reddit accounts.
- Speakers events and conferences: increases awareness of CSA's missions and relevance in Canadians' daily lives through participation in events and conferences, with particular emphasis towards under-represented communities. The Speakers Bureau was specifically mentioned in the Exploration, Imagination, Innovation: A New Space Strategy for Canada. In -, the CSA reached over 40,000 people in 170 outreach activities and events held across Canada. The CSA usually attends a dozen scientific, corporate and general public events in Canada every year with a booth and reaches over 10,000 Canadians.
- Exhibit program and partnerships with science centres and museums: Inspire and inform the general public, students, and teachers by enabling them to interact, learn about, and experience CSA's missions in a direct and tangible way. Two permanent exhibitions at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (Life in Orbit and Health in Space: Daring to Explore) and two travelling exhibitions (Space to Spoon and Health in Space: Daring to Explore) are currently circulating across Canada and have reached over two millions Canadians. A new exhibit on Earth Observation is currently under development. Eight giant floor maps are also travelling in schools across Canada and reach close to 10,000 students every year with a program that highlights the benefits of Canadian satellites.
- The CSA supports science centres and museums, as well as other trusted science education organisations, though loan agreements, content development and other opportunities.
2.1.2 Youth STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
The Youth STEM group targets youth from kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12), their educators and parents, and uses space to inspire the next generation of Canadians to pursue STEM studies and careers. The Space Strategy specifically lays out the CSA's commitment to inspiring young Canadians. In , the CSA approved its first STEM Strategy that sets the vision, goals and guiding principles for the development and implementation of STEM activities at all levels (primary, secondary, post-secondary).
In Budget , the Government announced an investment of $10 million over 5 years (- to -) for youth STEM activities focused on lunar exploration (Lunar STEM) as part of the SE Gateway funding. The results of youth STEM initiatives also feed into the Youth Learning component of the Space Capacity Development Program (SCDP).
The government is keenly interested in the Junior Astronauts initiative, which is also specifically mentioned in the Space Strategy. Future lunar-STEM activities would be:
- Space Brain-Hack;
- Building an AI-Enabled Robot;
- Commanding a Rover; and
- Mars on Earth Analogue Activities (Health & Nutrition).
Education is a provincial/territorial mandate. Therefore, the CSA proposes optional extra-curricular activities or those that complement the various curricula.
Activities can be implemented in collaboration with international space agencies, other government departments, not-for-profit organizations such as STEM organizations and museums and science centres.
2.1.3 Major Files and Initiatives
- Space Based Earth Observation (SBEO): An interdepartmental national multi-channel communications campaign to promote the value of SBEO to help solve key challenges on Earth and advance cutting-edge research, science and innovation is being planned.
- Lunar Exploration: In the coming months, Communications will promote the exciting progress we are making on our participation to moon missions, including rovers, health, food production and particularly Canadarm3. We expect suppliers from various expertise all across the country to be able to contribute to Canada's journey to the Moon.
- James Webb Space Telescope: A national communications campaign is planned to raise awareness of Canada's contribution to the world's next major space observatory.
- Canadian CubeSat Project (and [REDACTED]): Regional communications activities highlight the student teams participating in this unique hands-on opportunity in their area as they learn skills they will need to enter the space workforce.
- Virtual conferences with speakers and astronauts: the Speakers Bureau coordinates weekly live events with CSA astronauts and experts where Canadians can interact and ask their questions about space.
- Junior Astronauts: Junior Astronauts is a major element of the Lunar STEM initiative. It includes online activities for educators and youth in grades 6 to 9 and two nation-wide contests – one to win a visit from an astronaut to their school or youth organization, and the other to be invited to the Junior Astronaut Camp at the CSA headquarters, where youth will engage and train with CSA scientists, engineers and astronauts. COVID-19 has resulted in schedule delays for the contests.
2.2.1 Core Activities
Working closely with the CSA program divisions, the policy team offers advice, support and leadership on:
- Briefings to the Minister of ISED, key ISED senior officials and other decision makers to support decision making, increase awareness and create buy-in for CSA activities
- Requesting Government investments in new programs/activities via the federal budget process
- Securing "
policy cover" for the Agency's key activities with Central Agencies
- Managing the external Space Program governance bodies (e.g., DG Space Committee, ADM Space Program Integration Board, and DM Governance Committee on Space)
- Developing international and domestic collaboration opportunities and negotiating arrangements
- Deepening collaboration with other federal departments and better understanding their needs for space services and data
- Developing Treasury Board submissions (Policy supports CSA Finance & Program Branches)
- Economic research on the space sector
- Industry engagement and business development activities
Teams within the Policy Branch include:
- Develops and provides advice and recommendations on a broad range of strategic policy issues and options relating to Canada's space program, including drafting of Budget Proposals
- Provides internal challenge function review of key CSA activities, ensuring alignment with GC/CSA priorities
- Primary interface with ISED and Central Agencies on policy matters
Government and Academic Relations
- Provides advice and intelligence on issues faced by academic and government stakeholders
- Home of the Strategic Relations Team, which aims to promote space solutions as a cost-effective way to address key government priorities, including leading work to raise awareness about the need for greater uptake of EO data across government and lead pen on SBEO official documents
- Provides support to senior management on cross-federal departmental committees
- E.g. Science and Technology; Emergency Response; Positioning, Navigation and Timing Board, etc
- Leads/manages CSA external governance committees (DG, ADM, and DM level)
Economic Research and Analysis
- CSA's Centre of Expertise on socio-economics related to the space sector in Canada and globally
- Conducts research and analysis to identify socio-economic benefits of space investments, as well as to provide evidence for decisions related to emerging issues
- Leads the State of the Space Sector survey – the key source of information on the Canadian Space Sector
- Leads engagement with key international partners, such as the OECD Space Forum, to advise on and discuss economic analysis issues
International and Regulatory Affairs
- Leads the CSA's international engagements and bilateral/multilateral discussions
- Represents Canada at international fora, such as the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS)
- Develops agreements with international space agencies to facilitate program collaboration – E.g., Copernicus Cooperation Arrangement, NASA Gateway Agreement
- Supports Government-wide policy development on space regulatory issues – including commercial space launch, RSSSA reform, space debris, etc.
Space Exploration Policy
- Provides overarching policy direction and advice for the CSA's space exploration projects and programs, including drafting of budget materials, cabinet proposals, and TB submissions
- Current focus is on robotic contribution to NASA's Lunar Gateway, and advancing Canada's excellence in space health
- Primary point of contact for the CSA's Arctic policy work
- Primary point of contact with Canadian space industry firms and related industry associations (e.g. the AIAC) for business development and trade activities
- Gathers and analyzes sector and business intelligence and develops policy recommendations and strategies for promoting trade, encouraging investment, advancing key Canadian capabilities, new technologies and skills, and enhancing competitiveness
- Support Ministerial and President events and outreach with industry (e.g., recommendations, briefing notes, correspondence, coordination)
- Plans, organizes and leads B2B and trade mission activities in support of the Canadian Space Sector
- Liaison officer manages CSA's relationship with DND's DG-Space including ensuring that all military-civilian space-related activities are coordinated and aligned
2.2.2 Major Files and Initiatives
22.214.171.124 Space Regulatory Modernization
In , Canada committed to reviewing its regulatory framework for space-related activities through the release of the Space Strategy. In addition to recognizing the new commercial realities and the increased number of countries launching assets into orbit, the commitment was a response to feedback from industry, academia, and the broader Canadian space community that a modern regulatory approach was needed to effectively support and enable a thriving Canadian space sector.
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. 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.
Work on this issue is already underway and will continue over the next 24 months. Further information on this issue will be provided in subsequent briefing notes.
126.96.36.199 Governance Reform
Proposed modernization of CSA's external governance mechanisms to broaden the scope of work and ensure strategic-level consideration and prioritization of new activities and issues; as well as to ensure greater distinction between the roles of each committee-level (ie: DG vs ADM vs DM).
Background about governance of inter-departmental space initiatives was provided in briefing book 2.
Governance reform has been initiated for the 3 main inter-departmental governance bodies for space-related activities, including the Deputy Minister Governance Space Committee (DMGCS); the Assistant Deputy Minister Space Integration Board (ADM SPIB); and, the Director General Space Committee (DGSpC). Consistent with the Cabinet mandate for the DMGCS, the DG and ADM committees have expanded their activities to include forward planning for inter-departmental space projects, e.g., the space-based Earth Observation (SBEO) initiative. Director-led working groups have also been proposed for the DGSpC to cover such areas as space regulation and policy.
Reform of governance would include inter-departmental policy development leadership for emerging issues such as the framework for a space port in Canada, emerging issues such as Space mining, space debris, and more.
Decision Point and Timelines
While there are no pressing timelines, modernization efforts have been underway for some time. It is suggested to reconnect with ISED DM Simon Kennedy (as co-chair of the DMGCS) within 6 months or so to prove an update on this file.
The DG-level committee has been meeting somewhat regularly to address various RCM-related issues; however ADM and DM level engagement has been quite irregular. To make more effective use of executives' time, it is proposed for:
- the DG-level committee to undertake most of the inter-departmental work program;
- the ADM-level to focus on prioritization of projects and review of issues; and
- the DM level to decide on issues of high strategic importance, including significant financial spending, assessment of major risks issues, and/or recommendations with national implications, are raised at the DMGCS table.
Some departments have also expressed concern that [REDACTED].
The discussion could also touch on resuming DMGCS activities, namely with a short term focus on closure/evaluation of the RCM program, review of recommended Earth Observations initiatives of high priority, and continued reform of the governance system.
188.8.131.52 Business-to-Business (B2B) Activities and Role
B2B activities are organised in Canada through industry events or abroad through CSA-led commercial missions.
Since , a number of Industry-focused events in Canada and abroad that were strongly supported by the industry as valuable platforms for Canadian space firms to showcase their know-how to major foreign companies and international delegations, yielding significant business opportunities with both public and private international clients.
Industry-focused events are organized in collaboration with Canada`s Trade Commissioner Services as well as other federal government department and agencies. These Space Industry Day events at CSA Headquarters have become a key element of the Canadian space industry business development activities. Past events have included participation by major international firms such as Sierra Nevada Corporation, OHB SE, DSI Aerospace Technology GmbH, Airbus Defence and Space, Blue Origin, Moon Express, Astrobotic Technology, ispace and Nanoracks.
Moreover, a number of other international engagements with incoming trade delegations that included a mix of private companies and government officials have occurred. While the format of engagement is aligned to meet expectations of a visiting delegation, most of the events include roundtable presentations by both the Canadian and international government and industry executives, followed by a detailed business development programme or negotiations. The "
Global Connections" events that took place these past years have included delegations from Poland, Czech Republic, Brazil and Germany.
Industry Engagement is a key component of the CSA's activities. Due to the pandemic, the manner in which these activities are delivered is being re-imagined. The CSA's industry relations team (IRT) has a Virtual Engagement Plan that will allow their continued delivery.
For the fall , the IRT is planning a series of virtual events in an effort to restart Canadian space industry's business development activities, including: Space Industry Days with Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit and MDA. These events will include live webinars with Q&A session and virtual showcase matching-making options, to replace in-person B2B discussions. The CSA will also be launching its first Space Start-Up Competition that is being put together with support of ESA.
As well, plans are in the works for a virtual version of Global Connections events, where roundtables between Canadian and foreign companies would be conducted online using video conferencing. IRT will also work with Trade Commissioners Service to organize virtual market place introductions of Canadian companies to new export markets.
Continued efforts via various online platforms would allow Canadian space industry to remain integrated into the global supply chain and to be well prepared to resume normal business activities when the pandemic crisis is over.
184.108.40.206 Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare
The Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare was formed in to assist the CSA in defining a potential deep space healthcare initiative for Canada that would be nationally critical, visible, scalable, affordable and socially beneficial. Reporting to the CSA President, the Advisory Council is mandated to recommend the vision, mission and values of the proposed initiative, identify aligned national collaborators, and provide advice in their respective areas of expertise.
The Advisory Council is composed of 15 members, representing a diverse range of expertise in clinical research, public health, academia, technology, commercial and space operational matters, Indigenous affairs, and the CSA.
The secretariat for the Advisory Council is housed within CSA Policy office, under the Executive Director for Space Exploration Policy.
In , the CSA established a task force of Canadian healthcare professionals (known as the Expert Group on the Potential Canadian Healthcare and Biomedical Roles for Deep Space Human Spaceflight) to consider a possible role for Canada in astronaut healthcare and performance during deep space missions. The Group, with membership external to the CSA, was asked to recommend a role that would be socially beneficial to Canadians, and that would build on our country's reputation as a respected leader amongst space-faring nations.
Following five months of deliberations, the Expert Group reported its findings to the President of the CSA. The Group's overall counsel was that the Agency and a consortium of national partners pursue leadership in deep space astronaut healthcare prior to the Mars exploration missions. The Group's four specific recommendations were:
- Canada should invest significantly in deep-space autonomous healthcare, as a bold contribution to space exploration and a means to develop national capacity in virtual healthcare for the benefit of all Canadians.
- Canada should pursue a role as the lead integrator and operator for astronaut healthcare in deep-space missions.
- In addition to operational oversight, Canada should contribute healthcare technologies to the deep space healthcare facilities, according to our national expertise.
- To assist the Canadian Space Agency with development and implementation of this potential opportunity, an external and diverse collaborative body should be established, representing Canada's space operational, health service delivery, commercial, research and government expertise.
Decision Point and Timelines
The Advisory Council recently had its mandate extended until (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), at which time they will provide their final report and recommendations to the CSA President.
The Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare was created as per the fourth recommendation to build upon the work of the previous Expert Group and advance the above four recommendations. Whereas the antecedent Expert Group answered the "
what" and "why" questions of a potential initiative, the Advisory Council will answer the "
how" and "
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