Saturday, May 30, 2015

CASI AERO Honours Space Pioneers

          By Chuck Black

It's mostly focused on the larger "aero" component of the aerospace industry this year, but the 67th Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) AERO Conference and Annual General Meeting did manage to take some time out from its busy three day schedule to honour Canadians contributing to the conquest of our final frontier.

Major Paul Maskell, the current DND Sapphire project manager with MDA principal engineer Robert Leitch and DND systems engineer Farid Aziz. The three accepted the 2015 Alouette Award on behalf of the DND and MDA Sapphire project teams at the 2015 CASI Senior Awards banquet. Photo c/o author. 

The awards and accolades were dished out as part of the 2015 CASI Senior Awards banquet, which was held on May 20th, 2015 in Montreal. They included:
The Alouette Award, which was presented to both the Department of National Defence's (DND) Surveillance of Space (Sapphire) project team along with the MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) Sapphire project team, for successfully working together to deliver the satellite to the Canadian Armed Forces.
The award recognizes outstanding contribution to advancement in Canadian space technology, applications, science or engineering and is awarded annually for outstanding achievement in the field of astronautics.
Sapphire, Canada's first military satellite, is a small spacecraft designed to monitor space debris and satellites within an orbit 3,728 to 24,855 miles (6,000 to 40,000 kilometres) above Earth. As outlined in the January 30th, 2014 MDA press release, "MDA announces Canada's DND Sapphire satellite completes commissioning and has transitioned into operations," the satellite has been providing data to the United States Space Surveillance Network since January 2014.
Chris Hadfield checks in via skype during the the 2015 CASI Senior Awards banquet. Photo c/o author.

The Trans‐Canada (McKee) Trophy, which was presented to retired Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Chris Hadfield for representing "the true spirit of exploration and discovery." during his distinguished career as a fighter pilot, astronaut and as the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station (ISS).
Hadfield, raised on a farm in southern Ontario and inspired as a child while watching the Apollo 11 Moon landing on TV, was the first Canadian to walk in space and is officially a civilian astronaut, since he retired as a colonel from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2003 after 25 years of military service.
The trophy, established in 1927, is Canada's oldest aviation trophy. It was created by Captain J. Dalzell McKee, an American citizen and pilot, who flew from Montreal to Vancouver that year and was so impressed by the services provided by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Ontario Provincial Air Service that he established the endowment to promote Canadian aviation which, unofficially at least, still bears his name. 
JM Floryan. Photo c/o UWO.
Of course, Hadfield and the Sapphire team weren't the only Canadians honoured at the gala. Other awards included:
  • The C.D. Howe Award, presented for achievements in the fields of planning, policy making, and overall leadership in the aerospace industry was presented to the Honourable David Emerson for his contributions as head of the 2012 Aerospace Review.
  • The Roméo Vachon Award, presented for outstanding display of initiative, ingenuity and practical skills in the solution of a particularly challenging problem in Canadian aeronautics and space activities, was presented to Stephan Werlen, for his contributions at the National Research Council of Canada in support of the Pratt & Whitney Canada altitude test cell, icing cell, high pressure compressor rotors (HPCR) and wind tunnels.
The event, held this year in collaboration with the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) in Montreal from May 19th - 21st, focused on a variety of "green initiatives" to reduce the carbon footprint of the aerospace industry.

CASI bills itself as a nonprofit technical organization for aeronautics, space and remote sensing. It hosts a variety of events, including the recently concluded 65th International Astronautics Congress (IAC), which was held in Toronto from September 29th - October 3rd, 2014 and the bi-annual CASI Aero and CASI Astro conferences.

The next CASI ASTRO will be held in May 2016. Stay tuned.

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