By Glen Strom
The Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) website isn't just for kids’ school projects or the casual space fan. Educators, space business people, scientists, engineers, and members of the media will find resources that are useful to their work.
|The main English language page for the CSA as it looked on March 28th, 2015. As outlined in the March 26th, 2015 Industry Canada press release, "Increasing Canada's International Role in Space Exploration," Industry Minister James Moore had recently announced that the federal government was investing an additional $2.6Mln CDN towards the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The total Canadian contribution to the project currently stands at just under $150Mln CDN. Graphic c/o CSA.|
On the CSA home page, you’ll see a menu bar at the top of the page with these headings: Audiences, Activities Sectors, Resources, Useful Links, and Multimedia. Go through Audiences to access these subheadings: Educators; Industry; Scientific Community; Media; and Museums, Science Centres and Cities.
Relevant information under other category headings are listed below.
|CSA Educators page. Graphic c/o CSA.|
The main page features three modules:
- The Canada from Space giant floor map. The map, made from RADARSAT-2 images, teaches students about the effects of pollution and natural disasters, why arctic ice is important, and what causes the northern lights. Teachers can get the map on loan for three weeks through the Canadian Geographic Education website.
- The Tomatosphere project. Tomatosphere teaches kids about science, space, and food. Students plant two batches of tomato seeds. One batch has been exposed to the space environment or a space-simulated environment on Earth, and the other batch are normal seeds. Students watch how the seeds grow and compare the two batches.
- Space science projects looking for contractors, which are listed under Announcements of Opportunity. These projects may be funded or unfunded.
- The Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer page, where businesses or universities can find CSA technology that they can use or commercialize for resale under a variety of different types of licenses.
- The Canadian Space Directory, a searchable database of companies involved in the Canadian space industry, which can be searched by organization name, or by a combination of organization type, province, sector of activity, category of activity, and capabilities.
|Inside the David Florida Laboratory. Photo c/o CSA.|
- The David Florida Laboratory (DFL), a spacecraft assembly, integration, and testing centre located in Ottawa, Ontario. Operated by the CSA, the DFL is registered as an ISO 9001:2008 facility for testing space and terrestrial hardware and is available to Canadian and foreign companies for qualifying hardware on a fee-for-service basis.
- The Earth Observation Applications and Utilizations (EOAU) division manages and funds projects for Earth Observation (EO) technologies and applications. EOAU has three programs:
- The Earth Observation Application Development Program (EOADP) is for companies developing applications that make use of EO data from CSA-supported missions.
- The Government Related Initiatives Program (GRIP) is for Earth observation systems that help the Canadian government make the best use of land, ocean, and atmospheric data. Each thematic area on the EOADP web page—Environment, Resources and Land Management Use, and Security and Foreign Policy—have links to their respective projects.
- Science and Operational Applications Research (SOAR), a joint partnership program between the CSA, the Geospatial Services division of MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA-GSI) and the Natural Resources Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS). The program provides data from RADARSAT-2 to Canadian stakeholders.
|The colour composite of a RADARSAT-2 polarimetric radar image data acquired over the Netherlands on April 4th, 2009 as part of the lead-up to the Sentinel-1 European Radar Observatory program. The different colours reflect the type and condition of the land cover. Field boundaries are clearly visible in this area, which is mostly agricultural. The dark areas correspond to water surrounding this area of reclaimed land, the very bright areas to urban settlements and the pink/blue area to middle-left is a nature reserve. The RADARSAT images were taken to familiarize European Space Agency (ESA) researchers with synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Photo c/o Geospatial Data Services Centre & MDA.|
If you’re looking to bid on a CSA project, you’ll find them at BuyandSell.gc.ca. You can use the quick search icons to browse or search the listings. Instructions for use are in the navigation panel on the left side of the page. You can also get the listings through an RSS or Atom reader.
MERX, which is a private company, has an electronic database of government projects. The basic free subscription lets you view abstracts. Full access to the site costs CDN$18.95 a month, CDN$209.95 a year, or CDN$49.95 per order.
Glen Strom is a freelance writer and editor with a background in business and technical writing. He's also the editor of The Gazette Weekly, the newsletter of the Canadian Space Society.