Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Canadian Space Agency Gave Out Almost $5Mln CDN in Grants and Contributions Last Quarter!

          By Henry Stewart

CSA Disclosure of Grants and Contributions Awards Page. Screenshot c/o CSA.
It's worth noting that recent stories and press releases focused around individual Canadian Space Agency (CSA) initiatives are really only a partial representation of the funds provided through the CSA at any one time.

These include stories such as the October 21st, 2016 CNW Telebec post, "Une nouvelle technologie médicale de pointe sera mise à l'essai dans l'espace - Cette technologie de surveillance peut être utilisée sur Terre pour les soins de santé," focused around the astroskin smartshirt and the upcoming health experiments planned for the International Space Station (ISS) as discussed in the October 18th, 2016 Globe and Mail post, "Canadian Space Agency to conduct health experiment on space station."

To get a true sense of what's happening, you need to visit the CSA disclosure of grants and contributions awards page, a quarterly compilation of CSA grants and contributions to third parties. of over $25,000 CDN.

InSAR images created using the homogeneous distributed scatterers (HDS) technique, showing deformation from multiple surface types including asphalt. As outlined in the December 2nd, 2015 Earth Imaging Journal post, "Learn the Ground Rules: InSAR Enables Proactive Urban Infrastructure Monitoring,"  provides multiple examples of InSAR data being used in a variety of ways. In Q2 2016, nine of the fourteen CSA grants awarded focused on new uses for InSAR data. Images c/o MDA Geospatial Services.

CSA first quarter totals for 2016/17 (from April - June 2016, the last period for which data is available) include fourteen grants to eleven organizations for a variety of research and experiments. They include:
Two grants to the University of Waterloo covering:
Two grants to the University of Western Ontario covering:
 Two grants to York University covering:
  • A second grant, this one for substantially more money (although the amount allocated would be expected to cover more than one fiscal year) to cover an experiment on the perception of self-motion (POSM) in space. According to the description, the project will investigate the "amplitude of motion evoked by a given pattern of optic flow by measuring how far a participant needs to “travel” in a simulated environment to reach a previously viewed target." ($786K CDN)
A 2013 Environment Canada (EC) poster outlining the development of Canada’s carbon assimilation system. In Q2 2016, the University of Toronto received a CSA grant to integrate new data derived from satellite measurements, into the program. Graphic c/o EC.
Individual grants were also awarded to the following universities: 
As outlined in many previous articles, including this February 23th, 2014 post on "Canadian Firm Plans to Corner the Worldwide Rover Chassis Market," the CSA has previously attempted to develop rovers it can resell to other space programs. Its most recent attempt is its $1.2Mln CDN grant to Canadensys Aerospace Corporation in Q2 2016. Screen shot c/o Commercial Space Media. 

Of course the obvious big beneficiaries of CSA largess in the first quarter of 2016 were three privately held corporations, which together received $2.7Mln CDN of the almost $5Mln CDN disbursed in total. They include:
It's also worth noting that nine of the fourteen grants presented by the CSA during this quarter went to various universities in order to develop new uses for InSAR derived data.

At present, the primary Canadian supplier of InSAR data is Richmond, British Columbia based MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA), which collects it as part of its RADARSAT-2 responsibilities.

That might change over the next little while. As outlined in the October 18th, 2016 post, "A Quick Update to 'Iconic Macdonald Dettwiler is now SSL MDA Holdings, a US Based Company,'" MDA seems more focused on growing its US business than on maintaining what were once its core Canadian assets.

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

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