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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CSCA Calls for Increased Canadian Space R&D, X Prize-Style Competition

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TORONTO (CSCA PR) — On May 25th the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance announced that it would hold its pre-budget consultations from June 5 to August 7, 2015. However when the election was called on August 2nd the committee could no longer accept submissions. After the election it will be up to a new Standing Committee on Finance to determine the next course of action.

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SpaceX Awarded Launch Contract for Canada’s RADARSAT Constellation

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Hawthorne, CA (SpaceX PR) – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was awarded a launch reservation contract with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to support the largest space program to date in Canada, carrying the three satellites to orbit that will make up the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) on a Falcon 9 rocket in 2018.

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MDA Stock Falls Sharply as Canadian Government Rejects Sale

Shares of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates fell sharply on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday after the Canadian government signaled that it would block the company’s sale of its space division to an American defense contractor.

Shares of the Richmond, BC-based company, which had been trading at a high of $47 Canadian on Wednesday, fell to $42.85 Canadian on Thursday after Industry Minister Jim Prentice indicated that the”investment is not likely to be of net benefit to Canada.” The stock recovered slight to finish the week at $43.03 Canadian.

MDA had planned to sell its space division to U.S.-based Alliant Techsystems (ATK) for $1.325 billion in order to focus on its information systems business. Stockholders overwhelmingly approved the sale last month.

However, opponents said the sale would devastate the Canadian space industry, give Americans access to taxpayer-subsidized technology, and compromise the nation’s sovereignty. MDA built the Canadarms and the Dextre robot for the space shuttle and International Space Station, both funded by the Canadian government.

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Ruling on Controversial MDA Sale Delayed 30 Days

The Canadian government has announced a 30-day delay in its decision on whether to approve the controversial sale of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates’ space technology division to American defense contractor Alliant Technosystems.

Facing a Saturday deadline, Conservative Party Industry Minister Jim Prentice announced a month-long delay in order to conduct a more in-depth review of the sale. The Vancouver-based company has built some of Canada’s major contributions to space, including Canadarm, Radarsat 2, and the International Space Station’s new Dextre robot.

MDA wants to sell the division in order to focus on other parts of its business. Its shareholders have overwhelming approved the move. However, critics say the sale will devastate the Canadian space industry and threaten the nation’s sovereignty. One issue is whether U.S. law will limit Canada’s access to data from Radarsat 2, which the Canadian government primarily funded.

There has been a lot of coverage of this issue in the Canadian media. Below are some useful links:

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
Ruling on sale of Canadarm, Radarsat to U.S. arms-maker delayed 30 days

Canada Newswire:
Access Denied: U.S. Law Will Limit Canadian Access to RADARSAT-2 Data if Sale of MDA’s Space Division Proceeds

Liberal Party of Canada:
MDA Review Must Provide Solid Answers to Sovereignty Issues and Protecting Canada’s Space Industry

New Democratic Party:
NDP MP Peggy Nash demands that minister reject the sale of MDA

National Post:
Time to ground space firm’s sale (Op-ed by Don Martin)