Canadian Space Sector Revenues Grew 14 Percent in 2010


A Message From the CSA President

I am pleased to take this opportunity to present the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) annual report, The State of the Canadian Space Sector 2010. Data gathered for this report measures change in the space sector on a number of indicators, such as sector and category of business activity, regional differences, the relative value of export revenues and the strength of our manufacturing base. I am happy to report that the findings for 2010 point to a robust 14% increase in total revenues over 2009 results, reaching $3.439B. Furthermore, an additional 692 positions were created across the country to employ the highly qualified men and women of the Canadian space sector workforce.

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CSCA Pans Proposed Canadian Budget

CSCA PR — Toronto, Ontario, March 23, 2011 — In reviewing the federal budget released yesterday, the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) believes that proposed government plans are not optimal for the requirements of the Canadian space systems sector. The CSCA’s primary concern is with the proposed 12 – 18 month “strategic review” of the “aerospace” industry. The smaller, but growing and primarily Canadian owned space systems sector has a different set of planning and policy requirements than those appropriate for the much larger aviation industry.

Putting the two categories of businesses together for a combined policy review does neither industry any service.

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Giving Muslims a Spaceport of Their Own…in British Columbia

B.C. Spaceport Campaign Launched
CBC News

The head of the Muhammad Institute for Space Science, dedicated to putting the Islamic world back at the forefront of scientific discovery, wants to build a space-launch facility in Canada.

Redouane Al Fakir’s goal has been to return Muslims to the place of pride they held, centuries ago, as world leaders in astronomy.

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Bigelow Pitches Space Station in Canada

Bigelow's space station would have space to accommodate up to 12 people. (Photo: Douglas Messier)

Bigelow Aerospace was in Canada last week pitching its private space station to potential users:

A company representative was in Ottawa last weekend, delivering a keynote speech and lobbying officials at the annual summit of the Canadian Space Society. Mike Gold, a Bigelow director, called it his first attempt to reach out to the Canadian government and the space industry. He argued that the facility will offer countries a cheaper way into space within five years. In an email Tuesday, the CSA’s director of space exploration, Gilles Leclerc, said that the agency is not involved, “in any way,” in the Bigelow project. But Gold expresses optimism. “I don’t know how much I can say, but let me say if there wasn’t the interest in Canada, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Read the full story.

Canada Prepares for Possible Conflicts in Space

Space may be first frontier for the next major conflict: Canadian official
Toronto Star

It won’t look like a scene from Star Wars, but the man in charge of space development for the defence department predicts the initial steps of the next major conflict are more than likely to start in orbit and Canada should be prepared.

“The first line in the sand for the next major conflict may very well be in space or cyberspace, but probably not on the ground or in the air or in the seas,” Dupuis said in an interview while attending the annual conference of the Canadian Space Society.

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U.S. Export Laws Hamper Canadian Space Effort

canadaflagCanada’s space program hampered by U.S. laws
The Kingston Whig Standard

Canada’s space program has lots of ideas and commercial potential, but one of the big things holding it back is the lack of a Canadian launch program, the Canadian Space Summit was told over the weekend.

Also, both the military and civilian space research programs in Canada are hobbled by the fact that the country needs to rely on rockets launched by India, China or Russia, over which the U. S. holds wide-ranging veto powers.

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More Canadians Signing Up for Virgin Galactic

Vancouverites purchase tickets for space flight
Vancouver Courier

“Ever dreamed of going into space? If your travel budget can stretch to include the $200,000 US price of a ticket, a two and a half hour cruise up to sub-orbital space, including four to five minutes of weightlessness, will soon be possible.

“And at least two Vancouverites have bought tickets.”

Space is new place to play
The Province

A Vancouver agency that prides itself on offering luxury travel with a cutting edge has decided that space is the place to play.

Mason Horvath has been chosen as one of three accredited agencies in Canada to sell tickets for the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space flights scheduled to launch in 2010.

Canada Announces More Arctic Oil Exploration as Huge Ice Sheet Falls into Sea; U.S. Presidential Race Sinks into Muck

The Associated Press is reporting that a large ice shelf almost the size of Manhattan plunged into the Arctic Ocean last month in yet another sign of warming global temperatures. The 19-square-mile Markham Ice Shelf is now adrift off Canada’s northern coast. Over the summer, the Arctic lost 82-square miles of ice cover, an area three times the size of Manhattan.

“The loss of these ice shelves means that rare ecosystems that depend on them are on the brink of extinction, said Warwick Vincent, director of Laval University’s Centre for Northern Studies and a researcher in the program ArcticNet.

“‘The Markham Ice Shelf had half the biomass for the entire Canadian Arctic Ice Shelf ecosystem as a habitat for cold, tolerant microbial life; algae that sit on top of the ice shelf and photosynthesis like plants would. Now that it’s disappeared, we’re looking at ecosystems on the verge of distinction,’ said Muller.”

Yikes! This can’t be good. Or can it?

It is, if you are Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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Shuttle Veteran Named New Chief of Canadian Space Agency

Canada has selected two-time space shuttle veteran Steve MacLean to serve as president of the Canadian Space Agency. He replaces Guy Bujold, who has headed up the agency on an interim basis since January.

MacLean currently serves as CSA’s Chief Astronaut, coordinating activities for the space agency’s small astronaut corps. The agency is currently reviewing 5,000 applications to fill two open slots in the group.

MacLean’s official NASA bio states:

“From October 22 to November 1, 1992, Steve MacLean flew onboard Space Shuttle Columbia as a Payload Specialist for Mission STS-52. During this mission, he performed a set of seven experiments known as CANEX-2, which included the evaluation of the Space Vision System.

“MacLean was the Chief Science Advisor for the International Space Station from 1993 until 1994, when he was appointed Director General of the Canadian Astronaut Program for two years.

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Astronaut Selection Proceeds in U.S., Canada

National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign Closes in One Week
CSA Press Release

The Canadian Space Agency reminds Canadians that the National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign closes on June 26, 2008, with only one week remaining for candidates to apply to be considered for the Canadian Astronaut Corps.

By May 2009, two candidates taken from this process will be selected and begin their training to represent Canada in future space exploration missions, including long-duration spaceflights on the International Space Station. Among their tasks, astronauts will help assemble and maintain the Station and conduct scientific and industrial research enhancing the quality of life on Earth.

“The National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Steve MacLean, CSA Chief Astronaut. “Anyone who is interested and who meets the minimum qualifications is strongly encouraged to apply. The CSA will conduct a thorough review to select the best candidates, and we hope to have the broadest possible pool of applicants.”

Since the Campaign launched on May 22, approximately 4,000 applications have been submitted. Approximately 20 % of all applicants to date are women.

U.S. Air Force Nominates 114 for Astronaut Program
USAF Press Release

The Air Force Astronaut Nomination Board has forwarded 114 nominations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for consideration in the pilot and mission specialist categories. The board was held May 13 to 15 and the medical screening panel was held May 20 to 22. More than 200 noninees were considered. 

Forty-eight names were forwarded in the astronaut pilot category while 66 names were forwarded in the mission specialist category. Candidates from that pre-selection are then evaluated by NASA, with the highest-qualified individuals invited to Johnson Space Center, Houston, for interviews this fall.

Airmen selected by NASA will be detailed to the JSC astronaut office for a one-year candidacy program. They will enter the basic astronaut training program, contributing to the design, development and testing of the Ares launch and the Orion crew exploration vehicles. In addition, they will participate in planning for future human operations on the moon.

The Air Force nominees will compete with those nominated by the other services and civilian applicants. NASA selections are expected to be announced to the services in May 2009.

Canadian Scientists Celebrate Phoenix Landing, Mourn Loss of Colleague

There was great joy north of the border among scientists who have contributed to the successful Mars Phoenix mission. Yet, the celebration was mixed with sadness over the loss of a colleague who never got to see it.

U of A device to measure wind on Mars successfully lands – University of Alberta Press Release
“University of Alberta scientist Carlos Lange is thrilled that an instrument he invented, a wind sensor called the Telltale, has successfully landed on Mars. This is the first time Canadians have been involved with an interplanetary mission and Lange, a mechanical engineering professor, spent four years in preparation for this mission.”

Canadian Technology on MarsToronto Star
“A milestone for Canadian planetary science passed Wednesday when a highly sophisticated weather device aboard the NASA Phoenix lander successfully transmitted its first messages from Mars.”

Canadians feel loss of Mars mission scientistToronto Star
“Clinking glasses as they celebrated the triumphant touchdown on Mars of the Phoenix lander Sunday evening, York University professor Jim Whiteway and his team missed the one person who should have been there.

“Diane Michelangeli was the lead researcher behind the innovative Canadian-built meteorological station on the Phoenix, before she died of cancer last year – less than a month after the station was launched. Team members still feel the loss.”

MDA Sale Rejected; Company Gets Contract Renewal

The Canadian government has reaffirmed its rejection of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates plans to sell its space division to American defense contractor Alliant Technosystems (ATK).

Ottawa rejected the $1.3 billion sale last month as not being of net benefit to Canada. MDA had 30 days to convince Industry Minister Jim Prentice to reverse the decision. That period expired on Thursday.

Prentice did announce a four-year, $109-million contract between the Canadian Space Agency and MDA. However, company officials said this was merely a renewal of a long-standing contract that did nothing to provide direction to a drifting Canadian space program, the Vancouver Sun reported.

“The space file in Canada has been neglected for quite a while,” said Mag Iskander, MDA’s executive vice-president for information systems. “In real terms, government expenditures in this space have been declining. We are hoping with this new resurgence of interest by the minister and the government they will engage in a serious long-term space plan, similar to what we had in the past.

“I am not talking about handouts. I’m talking about contracts that meet the needs of Canadians,” Iskander said.

MDA Warns of Job and Technology Losses; Critics Decry Lack of Space Vision

MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates has warned that the Canadian government’s decision to block the sale of its space division to an American defense contractor Alliant Technosystems could backfire, resulting in the loss of jobs and key technologies, the Financial Post reports.

MDA wants to sell its space division to ATK for $1.3 billion in order to focus on its fast growing real-estate information business. If the sale does not go through, company officials say they would have three options:

  • purchase an American-based company to gain access to the U.S. market, draining funds from its information business;
  • hire hundreds of American workers so it can gain access to U.S. contracts, thus sending jobs south of the border;
  • collaborate with a U.S. company, with the risk of having its technologies stolen.

Last month, Industry Minister Jim Prentice rejected the sale on the grounds that it would have no net benefit for Canada. He sided with critics who say that the sale would damage the nation’s space program, sell off taxpayer-funded technology to the United States, and possibly block Canadian access to data from the Radarsat 2 satellite.

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Parliamentary Committee Supports Rejection of MDA Sale

A key parliamentary committee issued a report on Thursday supporting the Canadian government’s decision to reject the sale of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates’ space assets to American defense Contract Alliant Technosystems, the Globe and Mail reports.

“The report, tabled yesterday by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and the result of hearings held last month to scrutinize the sale, comes as another blow to a deal already widely seen as on death’s door. Nonetheless, Richmond-based MDA is lobbying Ottawa for a chance to plead its case for the $1.3-billion transaction.”

The report is expected to bolster the decision by Industry Minister Jim Prentice to reject the proposed sale on the grounds that it did not provide “net benefits” to Canada. MDA wants to use profits from the $1.3 billion sale to continue expanding its rapidly-expanding information products business.

MDA Coverage Roundup

Canadian writers have spilled a lot of ink (and megabytes) over their government’s decision to block MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates’ planned sale of its space division to American defense contractor Alliant Technosystems (ATK).

Some writers said it was the right thing to do while MDA’s supporters criticized the government for excessive economic nationalism. Other writers said blocking the deal would do little to solve larger problems with a Canadian space program they believe is adrift.

Below is a sampling of reactions north of the border:

Harper’s right to hold up MDA deal

Edmonton Journal

Space Program Needed Protecting
The Record

Ottawa’s MDA veto a populist play to voters
The Globe and Mail

What’s bad for shareholders is good for national security
Calgary Herald

Lost in Space
National Post

Harper’s Avro Arrow?
National Post

Off the space race pace: Stopping the sale of MDA to the Americans won’t save our wounded aerospace program
Ottawa Sun