James Webb Space Telescope Launch Slips into 2021, Cost Overruns

Artist’s impression of James Webb Space Telescope. (Credit; NASA)

Costs Rise from $8.8 Billion to $9.66 Billion

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — The Independent Review Board (IRB) established by NASA to assess progress on its James Webb Space Telescope has unanimously recommended that development on the world’s premier science observatory should continue; NASA has established a new launch date for Webb of March 30, 2021.

A report issued by the review board addresses a range of factors influencing Webb’s schedule and performance, including the technical challenges and tasks remaining by primary contractor Northrop Grumman before launch.

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Aethera Technologies, CSA Sign $1.5 Million R&D Contract Boosting Ad Astra’s VASIMR Development

WEBSTER, Texas USA and Halifax, NS, Canada (Aethera Technologies/Ad Astra Rocket Company PR) – A $1.5 million funding agreement has been signed between Aethera Technologies Limited of Halifax, NS and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the development of advanced high-power radiofrequency (RF) power processing units for Ad Astra’s VASIMR® engine.

The agreement, announced by the CSA on May 25, 2018, adds a major boost to Aethera’s RF power processing unit (RF-PPU) development program. The critical and innovative technology outcomes from this program supports the ongoing partnership between Ad Astra and Aethera to develop advanced, high-power, in-space electric propulsion.

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Canada Invests in 46 Space Technology Projects

Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) — Better space technologies are built on new, innovative ideas from talented Canadians. The Government of Canada is proud to invest in these revolutionary new concepts to turn them into products that will help improve our daily lives.

To this end, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced today an investment of more than $26.7 million ($20.6 million USD) that will benefit 33 Canadian organizations. This investment will create or secure 397 jobs and give 66 students valuable experience in space-related fields.

The funds will support 46 projects developing game-changing technologies in medicine, artificial intelligence, autonomous navigation, and virtual reality.

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GAO: JPL’s SWOT Mission Planning to Launch Ahead of Schedule

SWOT satellite (Credit: NASA JPL)

A Franco-American mission that will conduct a global survey of the Earth’s surface water is moving toward launching a year earlier than planned despite encountering technical challenges and and workforce shortages, according to an assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite “will use its wide-swath radar altimetry technology to take repeated high-resolution measurements of the world’s oceans and freshwater bodies to develop a global survey,” the report stated.

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Cruz, Nelson Criticize Plan to End Direct ISS Funding in 2025

International Space Station (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Sharply conflicting opinions about the future of the International Space Station (ISS) and America’s path forward in space were on view last week in a Senate hearing room turned boxing ring.

In one corner was NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenamier, representing a Trump Administration that wants to end direct federal funding for ISS in 2025 in order to pursue an aggressive campaign of sending astronauts back to the moon. NASA would maintain a presence in Earth orbit, becoming one of multiple users aboard a privatized ISS or privately-owned stations.

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NanoRacks Selected as Launch Provider for Nationwide Canadian CubeSat Project

WINNEPEG, Manitoba, May 4, 2018 (NanoRacks PR) – NanoRacks is pleased to announce that the Company has been awarded the launch services and deployment contract for the Canadian CubeSat Project – a nationwide small satellite development program sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The project provides funding to post-secondary institutions in Canada as part of a challenge to design, build, launch, and operate their own satellites which will be deployed from the International Space Station. The contract is for the launch and deployment of up to 15 CubeSats, totaling 33U of deployment volume, representing each Canadian province and territory.

CSA and NanoRacks will provide expert guidance to the professors and students to foster mission success and teach students about all aspects of launching a small spacecraft – from technology development to communicating their work to the public.
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Teams Selected for Canadian CubeSat Project


Led by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP) offers post-secondary institutions from each province and territory the opportunity for their students to take part in a real space mission by designing, building, launching, and operating their own miniature satellite, called a CubeSat.

Following an open competitive process (an Announcement of Opportunity):

  • 15 proposals (submitted by professors) were selected;
  • 15 grants ranging from $200 000 to $250 000 have been awarded;
  • 37 organizations are participating thanks to several inter-regional, inter-provincial and international collaborations (29 Canadian institutions and 8 from abroad: Australia, Belgium, France, Norway, Portugal, Russia, and the United States).

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Canadian Space Agency Announces Winning Student Satellite Projects

CubeSat

WINNEPEG, Manitoba, May 4, 2018 (CSA PR) — Young Canadians are the innovators who will take the Canadian Space Program into the future. What better way to learn about space engineering than to design, build, launch and operate your own satellite?

Post-secondary students from each province and territory have won the chance to design, build and launch into space their own CubeSat through the Canadian CubeSat Project. Today, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jenni Sidey unveiled the teams selected to participate in this new national student space initiative.

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JAXA-ESA Joint Statement concerning the bilateral cooperation

ESA Director General Prof. Johann-Dietrich Woerner and JAXA President Naoki Okumura. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — On March 3, 2018, on the occasion of the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF2), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) held an Inter-Agency Meeting to discuss furthering their bilateral cooperation. In the meeting JAXA and ESA announced a joint statement concerning the results of the studies of the Joint Working Groups established last May and future collaboration between the two agencies.

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Canadarm2 Spinoff Technology Transforming Surgery on Earth

Operating room (Credit: Synaptive Medical/Cicada Design Inc.)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Since its space debut in 1981, Canadarm has made its mark on the world stage. In exchange for Canadarm’s vital contributions to NASA‘s space shuttle program, Marc Garneau was granted a seat aboard Space Shuttle Challenger as part of Mission STS-41-G in 1984, making him the first Canadian astronaut to launch to space.

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A Look Back at the Space Year That Was

Total solar eclipse photographed from NASA Armstrong’s Gulfstream III. (Credit: (NASA/Carla Thomas)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

I realize it’s a bit late, but here’s a look back at the major developments in space in 2017.

I know that I’m probably forgetting something, or several somethings or someones. Fortunately, I have eagle-eyed readers who really seem to enjoy telling me just how much I’ve screwed up. Some of them a little too much….

So, have at it!  Do your worst, eagle-eyed readers!

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Canadian Space Agency Looks Ahead to Busy 2018

Credit: CSA

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — After all of 2017’s amazing moments and space discoveries, we have another exciting year ahead of us! From mapping an asteroid to sending a Canadian to space, here are five key projects that will make 2018 a year to remember for the Canadian Space Agency.

January–December 2018 – Canadian health science experiments will be conducted aboard the International Space Station

Credit: CSA

As space agencies from around the world are preparing to send people farther into the solar system, keeping astronauts safe and healthy during long missions will be critical. Canadian science conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will help us better understand and offset the harmful effects of space on the human body (e.g. radiation exposure, which is a risk factor for cataracts and cancer; bone loss; muscle shrinkage; arterial stiffness; and weaker immune system).

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Sierra Nevada, CSA Sign MOU on Dream Chaser Missions

Dream Chaser is prepared for its captive-carry test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., October 3, 2017 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to explore possibilities of using the Dream Chaser® spacecraft for future CSA missions and to facilitate the exchange of information between SNC and Canada. The agreement is a significant step toward greater collaboration to develop Dream Chaser technologies and applications that are mutually beneficial for SNC, the Canadian space industry and academia.

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CSA Awards Neptec Contract for New ISS Vision System

OTTAWA, Ont., September 18, 2017 (Neptec PR) – Neptec Design Group has been awarded an $11.9 million contract by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop a state-of-the-art vision system for the International Space Station (ISS). This new Canadian eye on the space station will be used to support ISS operations and advance technology for future space exploration missions.

The vision system will be developed, manufactured and qualified by a team of optical and robotic experts at Neptec’s Ottawa facilities. Neptec will also develop and certify ground control software for use at NASA’s and/or CSA’s mission control centres.

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AIAC Praises Space Advisory Board’s Recommendations on Canadian Space Program


August 18, 2017 (Ottawa, ON)
– Today the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) released a report produced by the government’s Space Advisory Board (SAB) on Canada’s space sector. The report identifies six issues for the government to consider as it develops a new space strategy:

  • Designating the space sector as a national strategic asset essential to Canada’s sovereignty, security and economic growth;
  • Strengthening the capacity of Canada’s space sector to compete globally;
  • Adopting new policies and regulations to allow the space sector to capitalize on technology advances;
  • Maintaining balanced, sustainable programs and funding for space;
  • Enhancing public education and outreach programs to inspire and prepare young Canadians for future participation in the space sector; and
  • Revitalizing Canada’s space program to ensure it remains responsive and relevant to its international partners.

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