Sunday, May 28, 2017

Part 11: A History of the Canadian Space Program - Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

The 2000's, Chris Hadfield, Canadarm 2, Dextre, MOST, SciSat, CloudSat, Telesat, RADARSAT-2 and Emerson's Shadow

Political cartoon c/o Halifax Chronicle Herald.
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.

The decade of 2000 saw important events in the life of the Canadian space program. In 2001 Chris Hadfield flew to the International Space Station (ISS) and became the first Canadian to do a spacewalk as he helped install the first piece of Canada’s contribution – the large robotic arm now called Canadarm 2.

In 2002 the second part of our contribution, the mobile base that gives the arm the mobility necessary to reach all parts of the station, (also known as the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System) was launched and successfully installed on the station. And in 2008 the final robotic component, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), also known as Dextre, was installed.

In 2003 the CSA launched Canada’s first space telescope, the Microvariability of Oscillations of Stars (MOST) along with SciSat, an instrument to probe the chemical constituent of the atmosphere as part of the search to understand the causes of the holes in the ozone layers.

In 2005 a Canadian cloud profiling radar instrument was our contribution to NASA’s CloudSat spacecraft.

These major scientific instruments are a direct result of LTSP II’s commitment to increase substantially the funding for space science.

At the end of 2007 RADARSAT 2 was launched (though the launch for data arrangement envisaged with NASA did not materialize – but that is another story all together). In 2008 Canada’s meteorological instrument on NASA’s Mars Phoenix spacecraft began measuring Mars weather.

In the decade Telesat launched Anik F1 and Nimiq 2. Since its creation, Telesat has now launched more than fifteen spacecraft.

For six months between December 2012 and May 2013 Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield participated in ISS Expedition 34/35 and became the first Canadian to be honoured with the task of Space station commander. Hadfield conducted over 130 science experiments and in his spare time tweeted about life in space and posted 88 videos explaining the many fascinating aspects of life in micro-gravity. He had more than 885,000 followers on Twitter and his videos had been viewed close to 23 million times.

The future of the Canadian space program from a policy perspective is less clear.

In November 2012 the Aerospace and Space Review (also known as the "Emerson Review"), mandated by the Government of Canada, issued Volume two of its report that covered the space sector under the title: "Reaching Higher Canada’s Interests and Future in Space."

It made substantive, pragmatic and by most accounts welcome recommendations with regard to the management and future directions of the Canadian space program.

As outlined in the December 3rd, 21012 post, "Initial Feedback from the Emerson Report," the Canadian aerospace community, including major players like Telesat, MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) and the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada (AIAC) all reacted favorably to the report recommendations. Screenshot c/o Commercial Space blog.

The Emerson Review provided a list of challenges and opportunities facing the Canadian space sector which formed the basis of their recommendations. The first challenge listed was clear and unequivocal:
The first lies within government: inadequate clarity of purpose with respect to Canada’s space program and its role in providing services and advancing national priorities. This lack of focus appears to go back at least a decade and has been manifested in weak planning, unstable budgets, and confusion about the respective roles of the CSA and those government departments that are major space users. In a sector whose undertakings are, by definition, long-term, expensive, and complex, it is especially important to have concrete goals, predictable funding, and orderly implementation.
Given the clarity of the Review’s recommendations, it is appropriate to highlight them:
Recommendation 1: Canadian Space Program Priorities.
The government explicitly recognize the importance of space technologies and capacity to national security, economic prosperity, and sustainable growth, and that the Minister of Industry bring 10- year, 5-year, and annual government-wide priorities for the Canadian Space Program to the Cabinet Committee on Priorities and Planning, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, for discussion and approval each spring.
Recommendation 2: An Advisory Council.
The government establish a Canadian Space Advisory Council, reporting to the Minister of Industry, with membership from industry, the research and academic communities, provinces and territories, and federal departments and agencies.
Recommendation 3: Disciplined Governance and Implementation.
A deputy minister-level Space Program Management Board be created to coordinate federal space activities, project-specific arrangements be put in place to ensure disciplined project management, and all agencies and departments with a role in the Canadian space program be required to report on how they are implementing priorities set out by Cabinet.
Recommendation 4: Predictable Funding.
The Canadian Space Agency’s core funding be stabilized, in real dollar terms, for a 10-year period; major space projects and initiatives be funded from multiple sources, both within and beyond the federal government; and increased international cooperation be pursued as a way of sharing the costs and rewards of major space projects and initiatives.
Recommendation 5: Early Project Scoping.
The scope of space projects, project timelines, and performance requirements be finalized as early as possible in the project definition phase.
Recommendation 6: Competitive bids that Encourage Innovation, Control Costs, and Build the Canadian industry.
Space asset and service procurement processes be competitive in nature and proposals be assessed on the basis of their price, responsiveness to scoped requirements, and industrial and technological value for the Canadian space sector.
Recommendation 7: Support for Technology Development.
Total funding for the Canadian Space Agency’s technology development programs be raised by $10Mln CDN per year for each of the next three years, and that it be maintained at that level.
Recommendation 8: Encouragement of Commercial Space Activity.
Where costs are modest and there is no risk to public safety, the government create conditions conducive to the expansion of space-related commercial activity.
The Government’s initial response to the Emerson Review came some fourteen months later in February 2014 and was in the form of the a Space Policy Framework.

The download page for the 2014 "Canada's Space Policy Framework." As outlined in the February 9th, 2014 post, "Conservatives Form Committees; NDP Says "Incompetence Crippling Space Sector!," the report, a follow-up to the 2012 Emerson Review, was far less well received. Graphic c/o Government of Canada.

The Space Policy Framework listed five core principles that will be used to guide the government’s management of the Canadian space program. These are:
  • Canadian interests first - Canadian interests include issues related to national sovereignty, security and prosperity.
  • Positioning the private sector at the forefront of space activities - This will be done by supporting and using the domestic space industry to bring cutting-edge technologies to market that meet national interests.
  • Progress through partnerships - Partnerships will be encouraged at both the national and international level.
  • Excellence in key capabilities - To support and advance proven Canadian competencies while keeping a close watch for new technological niches.
  • Inspiring Canadians. The government recognizes that space is a highly visible means of motivating young Canadians to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Through the Space Policy Framework the government has implemented all the budget neutral recommendations of the Emerson Review.

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: "More on the 1990's, the CSA, 'On-Going Budgets,' a 3rd 'Long-Term Space Plan,' 
New Astronauts, More Satellites but Never Enough Funding" in part ten of "A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets."

Next Week: "Lessons and Conclusions," as part twelve of "A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets," concludes the series.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page