Monday, May 22, 2017

Part 10: A History of the Canadian Space Program - Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

More on the 1990's, the CSA, "On-Going Budgets," a 3rd "Long-Term Space Plan," 

New Astronauts, More Satellites but Never Enough Funding

The 1999 Federal Budget. C/o
By Graham Gibbs & W. M. ("Mac") Evans

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th - October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants.

When the government established the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in 1989 the only budget it provided was for specific programs. The second Long-Term Space Plan (LTSP II) did the same.

The CSA did not have an “on-going” budget like all other government departments and this created significant long term planning problems. This was rectified in Budget 1999 when the government provided an on-going budget of $300Mln CDN per year (approximately the level of funding for the Canadian space program in 1990).

Associated with this new method of funding was the injection of $430Mln CDN of new funding over three years to finance several new space initiatives. These initiatives were the result of the government’s approval of LTSP III which included a re-balancing of the Canadian space program.

For the first time, the earth observation activities of the CSA received the largest portion of the space budget (almost 30%) while the remaining major activity areas (human presence in space, science, satellite communications, and technology development) each received about 15%.

The 1990’s saw a flurry of activity in Canada’s space program.

The 1992 crop of Canadian astronauts included (clockwise from top left) Marc Garneau, Chris Hadfield, Bjarni Tryggvason, Steve MacLean, Mike McKay, Dave Williams, Julie Payette and Robert Thirsk. Only McKay never reached space. As outlined on his CSA bio, "he resigned as an astronaut in 1995, but remained active in the program until 1997 working on projects such as the space vision system and the robotic arms for the International Space Station. After leaving the military in 2001, McKay joined the private sector." Photo c/o CSA.

Three new astronauts were selected (Chris Hadfield, Dave Williams, and Julie Payette). There were more astronaut flights (eight) in the 1990’s than ever before or since, including Chris Hadfield’s flight to the Russian Mir space station in November 1995.

RADARSAT 1 was launched in 1995, propelling Canada into the select list of nations to have its own earth observation satellite and immediately capturing more than 15% of the world market for remote sensing data.

Mobile Satellite (MSAT) was launched providing mobile communications services across Canada and the US. Canadian scientific experiments flew on the shuttle and on the Russian space station Mir. Canada’s first instrument for interplanetary exploration was launched aboard a Japanese satellite (which unfortunately in 2003 missed Mars). Telesat (which in 1992 had become totally privatized when the government sold its shares in the company) launched two new satellites (Anik E1 and E2) and the nation’s first direct broadcast satellite (Nimiq).

To close the decade, in 1999, Canada’s Measurement of Pollution in The Troposphere (MOPPIT) science satellite was launched.

A new Space Policy Framework was adopted giving new policy direction to the Canadian space program. Canada’s participation in the International Space Station (ISS) program was re-confirmed after coming close to termination. And finally, the CSA was put on a stable, long-term (but insufficient, according to the space community) funding basis.

Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of "Five Ages of Canada - A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation."

William MacDonald "Mac" Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast and as a member of the Federal government Space Advisory Board.

Last Week: "The 1990's, The Second Long-Term Space Plan, SCISAT, RADARSAT-2 & 'Competitive Procurement'" in part nine of "A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets."

Next Week: "The 2000's, Chris Hadfield, Canadarm 2, Dextre, MOST, SciSat, CloudSat, Telesat, RADARSAT-2 and Emerson's Shadow," as part eleven of "A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets," continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page