Monday, November 28, 2016

An ESA Event, SEDS Objects, the CSA Budget Shrinks, the JWST & the Downsview Aerospace Hub

          By Henry Stewart

"Conference season," that time when academia, business and government leaders get together to schmooze and pitch projects and plans, is finally winding down for the holidays, with the notable exception of the 2016 European Space Agency (ESA) Ministerial Conference (which includes the Canadian Space Agency as an associate member), which will be held from December 1st - 2nd, 2016 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

With that in mind, here are a few of the stories we're currently tracking for the Commercial Space blog:

Liberals in Space! Our government supported space activities, operate under numerous funding constraints and need to operate within "Canada's Innovation Agenda," a Federal government program focused around collaboration with other government departments and the application of science to develop new technologies and products. Just look at all the groups which had to come together to build just this one, single image with a question mark. Graphic c/o the Commercial Space blog,, the Canadian Space Agency & the Liberal Party of Canada.
  • After a grace period covering its first year in office, some are finally beginning to question the ongoing lack of Federal Liberal government support and funding for our space agency.
And, as outlined in the November 25th, 2016 Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Canada (SEDS-Canada) post, "The Canadian Space Agency’s serious budget limitations are hurting the Canadian economy and are harming Canada’s future in space," at least a few of those concerns are coming from Canadian students hoping to work in the space industry.
As outlined in the article, "the new federal government should comply with the 2012 Aerospace Review, which recommended stabilization of overall CSA funding in real dollars." 
The post goes on to state that, "the benefits of living in the space age have become so pervasive that their creation and support has been taken for granted, but the investments required to sustain these public goods and to invent new ones require support from the Canadian government. Yet the Canadian government has chosen to tightly limit the CSA’s budget from 2016 to 2019..."
"This act is painful to those already established in the Canadian space sector and it is effectively pulling up the ladder on young Canadians eager to find a job, pursue advanced degrees, start businesses, or attend conferences..."
Of course, the editorial isn't perfect. 
For example, it objects to the 2014 de-funding of the Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars (MOST) space telescope without acknowledging that, as outlined originally in the April 13th, 2015 post, "The MOST Space Telescope Joins the Private Sector," the telescope remains operational today, even without Federal funding.
But is is a reasonable indication of the way the Canadian political winds are beginning to blow. Governments who ignore this leading indicator, do so at their peril.
  • It's hard to believe given the history, but it seems that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) might be on track, on budget and on schedule for launch in October 2018. 
Who'da thunk?..
As outlined in the November 27th, 2016 New York Times post, "NASA on track to launch advanced Webb space telescope in 2018," the giant space telescope which once threatened to co-opt the entire NASA astronomy budget, is now "on track and on budget to be launched in October 2018."
The article notes that, while the JWST is now on track, other programs, such "as a proposed space telescope to study dark energy, which the (US) National Academy of Sciences (NAS) had hoped to put on a fast track to be launched this decade," are not. The NAS project has been postponed until 2025 or later. 
For an outline of Canada's contribution to the JWST, check out the June 29th, 2014 post, "James Webb Space Telescope Preparing for 2018 Launch." 
For background on the initial cost overruns associated with the project, check out the July 12th, 2011 post on "Tracking Costs for the James Webb Telescope."
A November 21st, 2016 tweet showing the ground breaking ceremony at Downsview Park. As outlined in the November 21st, 2016 Centennial College post, "Centennial's Aerospace Campus breaks ground at Downsview Park,"the project has just received an additional $18.4Mln CDN from the Federal Post Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Funds (SIF) and $25.8Mln CDN from the Ontario government, in order to relocate the college's aviation programs to the new facility. Photo c/o @CentennialEDU
  • After six years of "official" campaigning and a further fifteen years of preliminary proposals and politicking, the proposed Downsview Park aerospace hub and its centerpiece, the new Centennial College Aerospace campus, has finally begun construction. 
As outlined in the November 21st, 2016 Federal government press release, "Canada and Ontario invest in post-secondary infrastructure at Centennial College," $44.2Mln CDN in new funding has been allocated by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan and by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, in order to begin construction on the long-anticipated facility. 
In total, the project is expected to cost $72Mln CDN. The funds will be used to re-purpose the historically significant de Havilland building at 65 Carl Hall Rd., using "selective demolition," plus add new construction, in order to create a new 138,000 square feet facility with instructional space and a new hangar large enough to accommodate current commercial jets.
Other partners in the project include the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), Ryerson University, York University, Bombardier and others. The campus will anchor the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research (DAIR) cluster. 
As outlined in the July 28th, 2015 post, ""Up to $18.4Mln" More for the Downsview Aerospace Hub," this isn't the first time the project has received funding or even the first time construction was expected to move forward. But it is the first time that ground has actually been broken on the site. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.
For more, check out upcoming editions of the Commercial Space blog.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page