Monday, October 03, 2016

CSA President Sylvain Laporte Reports, Telesat Northern Service Interrupts & MDA Reverses its Money Spigot

          By Henry Stewart

Here are some of the stories we are currently tracking for the Commercial Space blog

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Sylvain Laporte, although not normally a talkative agency head, took time out of his busy schedule to give a short, three minute presentation on Canadian activities at the 67th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Guadalajara, Mexico from September 26th - 30th. 
He managed to find time to mention Canada's contribution to OSIRIS-Rex ("a great success"), Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope ("some fantastic science"), Canada's own RADARSAT Constellation ("still looking at the launch being made in 2018"), Canada's increased commitment to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2020 to 2024 ("four more years of groundbreaking science"), the recruitment of two new Canadian astronauts ("who will be announced next summer"), Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and his upcoming ISS trip ("he's currently undergoing training in Russia") and the plethora of ongoing Liberal policy reviews ("as you can imagine, space is a major contributor to innovation and science"). He even managed to answer a few questions from the audience. 
To see the full twelve minute presentation, simply click on the screen-shot above.
Elsewhere, as outlined in the October 3rd, 2016 Nunatsiaq Online post, "Telesat satellite screw-up knocks out internet, LD phone service across northern Canada," the Telesat Canada Anik F2 satellite which failed on October 2nd and knocked out internet, phone, cellular, television and ATM banking services across much of northern Canada was expected to be up and fully operation by noon on October 3rd.
The glitch "appears to have affected all communities served by telecom companies that use Telesat as their backbone provider, including all communities in Nunavut," according to the article. 
Although Telesat quickly notified its customers and restored service, the incident was another potent reminder of how critical satellite communications are to northern Canadians. As outlined in the October 3rd, 2016 CBC News post, "Phone, internet services back up after Telesat satellite issue in Northern Canada," the underlying cause of the latest problem is still under investigation.
And BC based Macdonald Dettwiler (MDA) has announced that it will be providing $1.7Mln CDN to the University of Calgary to support the operations and services required for the e-POP scientific payload on the CAScade, Smallsat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE), a CSA multi-mission satellite operated by MDA since its launch in 2013.
As outlined in the  September 30th, 2016 MDA press release, "MDA provides funding to University of Calgary e-POP science mission," the additional funds will allow the university to continue the operations of CASSIOPE for an additional two years and "furthers the University’s use of the data gathered from the mission."
According to a paper co-written by MDA employees and presented at the 2004 Small Satellite Conference under the title "Cassiope: A Canadian Smallsat-Based Space Science and Advanced Satcom Demonstration Mission," most of the funding for CASSIOPE originates with the CSA, the Technology Partnerships Canada program and other Canadian government departments.
For updates on the stories listed above, please check out future posts in the Commercial Space blog.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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