Thursday, September 20, 2018

Update on the Maxar/MDA Billion Dollar Campaign for Next-Gen Canadarm Funding

          By Henry Stewart

Brampton ON based MDA Space Missions (a subsidiary of Westminster, CO based Maxar Technologies) is moving forward with its controversial campaign to lobby the Federal government to provide up to $2Bln CDN over a period of up to twenty years to fund a "third-generation Canadarm" for NASA's planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G).

The campaign, currently being pushed by Maxar/MDA with the assistance of senior members of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada (AIAC) space committee and others, is wrapped around a suggestion that funding a new Canadarm would insure Canadian astronaut access to the LOP-G in much the same way the the earlier generations of Canadarms provided Canada's entrance fee into the International Space Station (ISS).

A subtext of the main plan seems to be that funding a major, international program would also re-establish Canada's traditional role as a player in the international space industry. New opportunities (such as on-orbit satellite servicing) would then open up for Canada, which would once again have the luxury of picking and choosing programs which could be crafted into a functioning and workable "long-term space plan."

The first problem with that strategy is that long-term space plans, beginning with the first one, "Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada by J.H. Chapman, P.A. Forsyth, P.A. Lapp and G.N. Patterson, which was written in 1967, have traditionally been focused around domestic concerns, not international opportunities.

The second problem, as outlined in the September 18th, 2018 post, "Colorado Based Maxar/MDA Asking for $1-2Bln to Build Another Canadarm for the US LOP-G," is the publicly perceived pressure being quietly placed on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government by Maxar/MDA, NASA and the US to announce support for the LOP-G and funding for another Canadarm program as quickly as possible. The pressure for an immediate solution makes it difficult to properly assess the costs and benefits of the proposal.

The third problem is that most of the money initially allocated for the LOP-G goes to Maxar/MDA which has promised a wonderful, but surprisingly vague, future of "unicorns and rainbows" for all organizations willing to support its plan. This promise doesn't sit well with many Maxar/MDA supporters who would like a little more detail on how all that new Federal funding will help to build out a "balanced program," where everyone receives a fair share of the Federal pie. 

The fourth problem with this strategy is that no real Canadian work on a "next generation Canadarm" has been undertaken in Canada since 2013 when the last large chunk of Federal funding for the program ran out. Five years is a long time in robotics.

Now that the general interest presentation kicking off the "Don't Let Go Canada" campaign is out of the way, the focus has changed to more business and political focused arenas.

On Tuesday, September 25th, 2018, MDA group president Mike Greenley and business manager Holly Johnson will be giving a presentation on "Securing Canada’s Place in Space," in Ottawa ON. The presentation will launch the Canadian Club of Ottawa's fall season.

On Tuesday, October 16th, 2018, the Canadian Global Affairs Institute will be presenting a full day event titled, "Ready for Launch: Preparing Canada for a Future in Space." The event will also take place in Ottawa ON, which will make it really convenient for all those politicians which Maxar/MDA are hoping will attend.

Speakers include Greenley, former Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Mac Evans, Federal transport minister, ex-astronaut and ex-CSA head Marc Garneau (who will serve as keynote speaker), Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg, Honeywell Aerospace senior director of space payloads Marina Mississian, current CSA head Sylvain Laporte, Space Advisory Board (SAB) chair Lucy Stojak and quite a number of others.
Editors Note: It looks like the Federal government SAB website has gone offline. Here's hoping that the loss of the public access to the information collected by the SAB during its deliberations last spring is an accident and not a political statement on what the Federal Liberal government thinks of current SAB efforts.
Of course and as outlined in the March 8th, 2018 post, "Space Advisory Board Chair Admits Disappointment over Budget but Promises to Continue to Support Space Sector," it's well known that the SAB doesn't think all that highly of the government. 
That's part of the reason why SAB members are involved in the current Maxar/MDA effort and maybe those feelings are mutual. As always, we'll update this story as new information becomes available.
September 21st, 2018 Editors Note: Looks like the SAB website is back online but at a new location. It's now at It used to be at the slightly different
The future of the the Federal Space Advisory Board (shown here with innovation minister Navdeep Bains in February 2018, just before the 2018 Canadian Federal budget was announced) seemed a lot sharper when this photo was taken than it does today. Photo c/o Canadian Space Society.
Meanwhile, back on Parliment Hill the budget process will continue and will culminate sometime around March 2019, when the next Federal budget will be released.

While Maxar/MDA hasn't been called to present in person during the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2019 Federal Budget, that doesn't necessarily mean that any final decision has been made.

Stand by for adventure.

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Japanese Billionaire Parties Around the Moon

          By Brian Orlotti

On September 17th , SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and an entourage of artists will visit the Moon in 2023, making them the first private citizens ever to fly beyond low Earth orbit.

Maezawa, founder of Japanese e-commerce giant Zozotown, will fly around the moon aboard a "Big F*cking Rocket" (BFR). A group of six to eight artists of his choosing, from painters and sculptors to fashion designers and architects, will join Maezawa on his journey to share the experience.

The group will also share their experiences with the public via a website ( that Maezawa has created just for the mission.

Neither Musk nor Maezawa would disclose the flight’s cost, but both confirmed that Maezawa has already made a substantial downpayment.

Because Maezawa has shouldered the full cost of the flight, the artists travelling with him will fly for free.

Musk emphasized that the mission will be dangerous and that the 2023 launch date is not certain.

As part of its development, SpaceX plans to put the BFR through short "hopper tests" in 2019 and high-altitude, high-velocity test flights in 2020. Should these tests go well, the BFR’s first orbital flight could take place in two to three years’ time.

SpaceX will also perform a number of additional uncrewed test flights before putting Maezawa and the artists on board. Musk estimates a total BFR development cost of around $5Bln US ($ CDN), and thanked Maezawa for providing a significant chunk of funding toward that end.

SpaceX’s BFR will be the company’s premier spacecraft and the workhorse for achieving the company’s goal: human settlement of the solar system.

A multi-role vehicle, the BFR will eventually handle such tasks as fuel tanker, launch/repair/retrieval of satellites, space junk cleanup, point-to-point orbital passenger flights on Earth and ferrying human expeditions to the Moon and Mars.

As part of his announcement, Musk also provided an update on the BFR’s design.

The craft will be taller than previously stated at 118 metres instead of 106 metres. The new design will also feature three actuated rear fins that double as landing pads, as well as two fins near its nose.

The BFR’s previous design had only two small wings at the back.

Some may dismiss Maezawa and company’s trip around the moon as a rich man’s whim; a stunt born of boredom. In truth, however, it is a powerful statement on the opening of the space frontier; that space can be a place for all humans, if we so wish it.
Brian Orlotti.

Brian Orlotti is a network operator at the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), a not-for-profit network service provider to the education and research sectors.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Colorado Based Maxar/MDA Asking for $1-2Bln to Build Another Canadarm for the US LOP-G

          By Chuck Black

Rumour has it that the Brampton ON based MDA Space Missions (a subsidiary of Westminster, CO based Maxar Technologies) submission to the 2019 Federal government Pre-Budget Consultations, is simply the first step in an estimated $1-2Bln CDN request for Federal funding by Maxar/MDA to build a new Canadarm for NASA's planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G).

Rumour also has it that the new "'Don’t Let Go Canada' coalition is mostly organized through Maxar/MDA because, as outlined in the September 13th, 2018 post, "Dead Cat Bounce! New Canadian Space "Coalition" Wants Much the Same as Last Time, But With Money" it's also focused on encouraging the Canadian government to fund the LOP-G.

Of course, those rumours are more than just rumours. And Maxar/MDA is also receiving at least some help from others.

According to several high-level sources within the Canadian space industry, certain NASA employees (including Bill Gerstenmaier, the NASA administrator for human exploration and operations) are working with senior members of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada (AIAC) space committee and Maxar/MDA to co-ordinate a campaign to encourage the Federal government to announce funding for Canada's contribution to the LOP-G program as early as this fall, if possible.

If not, the new funding would be included within the March 2019 Federal Budget, scheduled for release in March 2019. The intent is to have the Canadian government commit between $1Bln and 2Bln CDN over the next twenty years. That's up to $100Mln CDN for each and every year of the next twenty years.

Here are a few more substantive facts.

The Maxar/MDA brief, "Securing Canada’s Place in Space: Key to Canada’s Competitiveness," written by MDA CEO Mike Greenley, is available online at the Federal government 2019 Pre-Budget consultation website.

According to the brief, the company is recommending that:
  • As consistent with the May 2018 report of the Federally mandated Space Advisory Board (SAB) titled, "Consultations on Canada’s Future in Space: What We Heard," the Federal government recognize space as a national strategic asset and a key contributor "to Canada’s competitiveness today and in the new space economy."
  • The Federal government develop a long-term space plan for Canada that "establishes the requisite funding to maintain our existing world leadership in satellite communications, robotics, Earth observation and space science; cultivate new areas of leadership; and position Canada to be competitive in the new space economy."
  • As an important first pillar of Canada’s long-term space plan, "the government announce a commitment in Budget 2019 (at the latest – time is running out) to provide a third generation Canadarm to the international space community’s next big exploration mission, the Gateway project (known formally as the LOP-G)."
  • The government provide $1-2Bln CDN over the next 20 years, beginning in Budget 2019, to fund a third generation Canadarm, thus "securing Canada’s existing world leadership in space robotics."
In essence, the Maxar/MDA brief is absolutely an ask for further Canadarm funding, although service is also paid to the failed SAB and the need for some sort of long-term plan was noted.

But as the prime contractor for Canadarm work, Maxar/MDA stands to benefit the most from this proposal, if the Federal government decides to accept the recommendations.

Here's another piece of useful information.

As outlined in the September 17th, 2018 e-mail to "Don't Let Go Canada" participants titled "Campaign Update," the coalition campaign seems to originate through MDA director of public affairs Leslie Swartman, who is listed as writing the e-mail.

According to Swartman:
Today is the day we formally kick off the ("Don't Let Go Canada") campaign! I have attached two press releases - one announcing the campaign launch and the other announcing the results of the public opinion research conducted by Ipsos earlier this summer. I have also attached an executive summary of the Ipsos research and the full report. As well, the campaign website is now live:
Just a few upcoming events to note. As mentioned previously, tonight there will be a public discussion about the poll at the offices of iPolitics from 5-7pm. The event will begin with a presentation by Ipsos executives Sandra Guiry and Brad Griffin, followed by a panel discussion moderated by iPolitics’ James Baxter which will feature panelists Mike Greenley (MDA’s Group President); Mike Pley (Pley Consulting); Kate Howells (The Planetary Society); and Marianne Mader (Canadian Association of Science Centres). The event is free and tickets are still available at: 
On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, from 11:30am to 1:30 pm, MDA’s Mike Greenley (Group President) and Holly Johnson (President’s Business Manager) will launch the Canadian Club of Ottawa’s fall season, with a speech entitled “Securing Canada's Place in Space”. The luncheon will take place in the Château Laurier – Ballroom. Below is the website where you can purchase tickets (I can give you a promo code for a discounted ticket if you are interested). 
Finally, the Canadian Global Affairs Institute will hold a conference on Tuesday, October 16th entitled, "Ready for Launch: Preparing Canada for a Future in Space". Here is the link for information and tickets: 
Feel free to share this information with colleagues and friends, and also follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share via the hashtag #DontLetGoCanada. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
The two press releases included with the e-mail are the September 17th, 2018 "Don't Let Go Canada" press release, "Canadian public is onboard with Government of Canada investment to secure Canada’s place in space" and the September 17th, 2018 "Don't Let Go Canada" press release, "Space sector coalition launches campaign to outline exciting opportunities for Canada in space."

Both press releases include contacts from Ottawa ON based PR firm Prospectus Associates for those who'd like more information, but doesn't include any contact information on "Don't Let Go Canada" members

If "Don't Let Go Canada" has enough funding to engage Prospectus, which is "one of Canada’s leading national public affairs consulting firms," according to its website, then it has just got to have a substantive war-chest for this campaign.

The "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition has also engaged the Toronto ON and Washington DC based Ipsos Public Affairs, another action indicative of substantial funding.

As outlined in both the September 2018 IPSOS Public Affairs executive summary under the title, "Canada Belongs in Space: Executive Summary of Research Findings," and the September 2018 full report titled, "Canada Belongs in Space Combined Research Report," Canadians are well disposed towards our national space industry and perceive that substantial benefits derive from its activities.

Which is all well and good. But the real question isn't whether Canada belongs in space.

The real question is whether our domestic space industry should continue to rely on high powered public and private lobbying efforts from foreign owned firms like Maxar/MDA in order to fund and promote other peoples space activities.

Maybe we should be building our own space systems. Some of us already do and they do it for a far lower cost.

And maybe that's a subject for another day.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Eight Other Views on How Canada's Upcoming 2019 Budget Can Help (or Hurt) Our Space Future

          By Chuck Black

The four hundred and seventy-seven briefs received by the Federal government as part of the 2019 Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget have been posted online in advance of a series of parlimentary meetings on the topic, which are currently scheduled to begin on September 27th, 2018.

The government will use the knowledge gained through this process to create the 2019 Federal budget, which will be released next spring.

Given that, it's worth noting that Brampton ON based MDA Space Missions (a subsidiary of Westminster, CO based Maxar Technologies) isn't the only Canadian space company contributing to the Federal pre-budget consultations.

It might not even be the only company expending a great deal of time, effort and money to advocate its viewpoint.

Here are overviews of eight other space focused organizations which contributed briefs to the Federal government. They include:
The brief advocated: 
  • That the Federal government should add “Launch vehicle technology and technology for launch sites” as admissible research categories for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grants providing funding for aerospace or space research and development.  
  • That the Federal government should invest in "new business practices through partnerships with Canadian companies, not-for-profits and charities, such that the youth may be equipped with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills relevant to the launch industry and the overall space industry."
The CSS brief advocated: 
  • That the Federal government provide the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) with more funding "to allow increased participation in ISS missions, recruit more astronauts, establish new research and operation centres and develop future projects of different scopes." 
  • That the budget provides funding for the CSA and partners to develop preliminary proposals for space-based "green energy production and mining projects." 
  • That the Federal government indicate "support for private space companies in Canada, procure services from the industry and encourage entrepreneurship."
  • The creation and support for "comprehensive outreach programs to educate the public on the importance of space exploration." 
  • That the government works closely with the experts in the field such as the federally mandated Space Advisory Board (SAB), to promptly adopt new space-related policies and strategies.
It's worth noting that the CCA is a part of the larger Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA), which advises the CSA on matters pertaining to the space astronomy segment of the CSA space science program, including priorities, areas of research, selection mechanisms, funding areas and the extent of funding.
The CCA brief advocated: 
  • The creation of "an official entity for funding applications for big science projects.
  • The allocation of sufficient Federal funding for Canadian researchers to take advantage of this new entity and develop "international collaboration opportunities on big science projects." 
  • The "establish a new vision for the Canadian Space Agency that includes space science," with an annual budget of $100Mln in order to support competitions for small, medium and large space missions. 
The MCSS brief advocated:
  • That the government increase the "A-base budget" for the CSA to above the average rates measured for international space agencies as measured by the Paris, France based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  The "A-base" budget covers base funding requirements such as salaries and office requirements but not specific CSA programs or projects.
  • That the government support additional large-scale space exploration missions "such as planetary rovers." 
  • That "the government take an active international role in developing policy to facilitate sustainable exploration."
The Planetary Society brief advocated:
  • That the government increase the CSA's "A-base budget," to at least $300Mln CDN per annum.
The SATCAN brief advocated:
  • That the Federal government restore the CSA to its original purpose and mandate, “To promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians.” 
  • That the Federal government increase "direct funding allocations for satellite products, services, research and development to those agencies that the need for space-based connectivity, capability and infrastructure." 
  • That the Federal government should allocate $93Mln CDN over five years "for the establishment of a sustainable, industry focused satellite technology and applications network." 
The SGAC brief advocated:
  • A "competitive budget allocation" for the Canadian Space Agency, in line with the "per capita GDP parity" of other major spacefaring nations. 
  • That the Federal government "urgently acknowledges its institutional and financial commitment to deep space initiatives alongside its international partners." 
  • That the Federal government amend its current Innovation and Skills Plan to include a funding mechanism to "incentivize, sustain and harmonize indigenous capability development programs focused on space science and technology, with a focus on Canadian youth." 
  • That the Federal government "expands its focus" across the four streams of the Federal government Strategic Innovation Fund by "increasing its call for proposals to include the space sector and to specifically bolster small and medium-sized enterprises." 
The brief advocated:
  • That the Federal government approve a CSA space strategy and restore adequate funding "as a means to stretch our national capabilities and rally our citizens."
The MDA brief, "Securing Canada’s Place in Space: Key to Canada’s Competitiveness," written by MDA CEO Mike Greenley, will be the subject of our next post.

As part of its 2018 Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2018 Budget, Ottawa ON based Telesat submitted a brief titled, "Telesat 2018 Federal Pre-Budget Submission," which advocated that the Federal government invest "in a Made-in-Canada satellite broadband communications solution."

That proposal, as outlined in the February 28th, 2018 post, "'Big Winners' in Tuesday's Federal Budget," became the core of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's announcement of a $100Mln Cdn satellite funding initiative in Budget 2018.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dead Cat Bounce! New Canadian Space "Coalition" Wants Much the Same as Last Time, But With Money

          By Chuck Black

A "new" Canadian space coalition, wrapped around a public advocacy campaign more evocative of a 1996 En Vogue love ballad than any past Canadian space adventure, has rolled out its website and plans to "help secure our place in space."

As outlined on its newly launched "Don’t Let Go Canada website," a group of "concerned Canadians representing industry, academia and the space enthusiast community" have gathered together "to ask the Canadian government to secure Canada’s place in space by putting forward a funded space strategy."

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

In fact, the only real problem with the proposal (other than the silly name, the underlying assumption that nothing can be done without Federal government funding/ supervision and the lack of any academic institution willing to go on record as supporting the plan) is its decision to create a public facing advocacy campaign (complete with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts) instead of opting for the tried and true private advocacy and government lobbyist route.

Aerospace organizations have traditionally only undertaken public advocacy campaigns after the political barn doors have been shut tight on the private efforts.

The concerned Canadians listed on the "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition website include Montreal PQ based ABB Canada, Bolton, ON based Canadensys Aerospace, Sudbury ON based Deltion Innovations Ltd., Mississauga ON based Honeywell Canada, Halifax NS based IMP Group, Sherbrooke PQ based Menya Solutions, Ottawa ON based Mission Control Space Services, Mississauga ON based Magellan Aerospace, Kanata ON based Neptec Design Group (now a subsidiary of MDA, so perhaps not legitimately an independent voice), Brampton ON based MDA (a subsidiary of Westminster CO based Maxar Technologies), Saskatoon SK based SED Systems (a division of Ottawa ON based Callian Ltd), Montreal PQ based Satellite Canada (SATCAN) and Montreal PQ based Xiphos Technologies.

Associations and advocates include the Ottawa ON based Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), Kanata ON based Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), the Toronto ON based Canadian Space Society (CSS), the Canadian chapter of the Pasadena CA based Planetary Society and the Toronto ON based Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

University and academic institutions have already benefited big-time from the 2018 Federal budget and that fact might go a long way towards explaining why no academic institution has, so far at least, signed on to the "Don't Let Go Canada" consortium. As outlined in the February 27th, 2018 Toronto Star post, "Budget boosts science research, grant funding," the 2018 Federal budget substancially increased funding for fundamental research. As well, and as outlined in the February 28th, 2018 post, "'Big Winners' in Tuesday's Federal Budget," the Federal government also allocated $100Mln Cdn for low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband initiatives. Most of those funds are expected to end up at Telesat, which hasn't signed on to the "Don't Let Go Canada" consortium, either. Graphic c/o The Star.

Notable by their absence in the "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition are firms like Ottawa ON based Telesat which, as outlined in the September 11th, 2018 Space News post, "Telesat says ideal LEO constellation is 292 satellites, but could be 512," is building its own, quite substantial constellation of orbiting satellites and has already received Federal government funding, Toronto ON based Kepler Communications and Montreal PQ based NorthStar Space Data Inc. which are both attempting to do much the same thing on a smaller scale.

Also missing from the coalition is support from any Canadian university, post secondary school or educational faculty.

As noted most recently in the September 6th, 2018 post, "2018 Listing of 50+ Academic Facilities Contributing to Canadian Space Expertise," there are a lot of academics involved in the space industry.

The inability of the "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition to attract even one to its cause has just got to make life difficult for an organization attempting to represent "industry, academia and the space enthusiast community."

This time around, unlike the last time as outlined in the March 8th, 2018 post, "Space Advisory Board Chair Admits Disappointment over Budget but Promises to Continue to Support Space Sector," the plan is to ask for the money up front.

According to the "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition website, the focus is on asking for a "funded long-term Canadian Space Strategy to guide our way forward," beginning with funding for the Canadian contribution to NASA's proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) which the consortium calls the "Lunar Gateway."

Not that there is anything wrong with that, either.

This blog, as outlined most recently in the March 22nd, 2018 post, "What Happens After the Failure of the Space Advisory Board?" has argued that the LOP-G would likely receive funding by the Federal government since the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) needs to focus on it's core mission to support the International Space Station (ISS) and whatever may follow on after the ISS is decommissioned, sometime after 2025. Any follow-on programs would likely include close co-operation with NASA (the CSA's favorite international space agency for subcontract work) and would probably include a Canadian contribution to the US led LOP-G.

Maybe its in the best interest of the "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition to advocate for something likely to happen anyway. That way, they end up backing at least one winner.

But as for the part where where the up front money comes with some sort of "strategy" to guide spending, that likely isn't going to happen.

The real strategy, at least from the political perspective, will be to provide enough funding for the expected Canadian LOP-G contractors (most of which are well represented in the "Don't Let Go Canada" coalition) so that they won't cause any trouble for the government in the run up to the next Federal election.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from the new initiative is, as outlined in the September 13th, 2018 SpaceQ post, "New Space Coalition Aims to Pressure Government as Marketing Campaign Begins," the fact that a larger, Canadian based news service has taken an interest in Canadian space activities.

As outlined in the SpaceQ post, "the coalition will be holding a series of events to talk about Canada’s space program and why it’s important to Canadians. The first will be held on Monday in Ottawa and hosted by iPolitics."

iPolitics is an Ottawa ON based news service focused on politics and Canadian events. If it can push out Canadian space activities to a wider audience, then that's a good thing.

The event will also coincide with Washington, DC based Ipsos Public Affairs releasing a public opinion poll on Canadians’ attitudes toward space. Ipsos public opinion polls don't come cheap and the use of one suggests some serious money is behind the current advocacy campaign.

As En Vogue would say, when you add money to the mix, the possibilities are "lovemaking, heartbreaking, soul shaking."

Whether or not those generic, emotional and public facing concepts will influence government funding for the Canadian space industry is another story entirely.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

The Five Winning Superclusters Still Haven't Received Their $950Mln in Promised Funding

          By Henry Stewart

Almost seven months after the  five "industry led" technology groups slated to get a piece of the $950Mln Federal government “superclusters” funding program were announced in Ottawa to much fanfare, none of the groups seem to have received any of the promised funding.

Innovation minister Navdeep Bains announces the five "industry led" technology groups which would receive funding under the Federal Supercluster program at the Ottawa, ON based Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) on Thursday, February 15th, 2018. Photo c/o CBC News.

On the other hand, and as outlined in the September 6th, 2018 Financial Post article, "Canada’s $950-million bet on innovation gets set to take the next step," the five winning groups, "have been hammering out details and funding agreements with Ottawa and some expect to launch projects this fall."

According to the article, "money is expected to start flowing this fall once the five innovation partnerships receive final sign-off from the federal government — something that could happen imminently."

As outlined in the February 16th, 2018 post, "Ottawa Announces Winners of $950Mln 'Supercluster' Competition," the five technology groups chosen for funding include:
  • Canada's Ocean Supercluster, based in Atlantic Canada, which will develop and utilize innovative technologies to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy. Partners include PQ based ABB Canada, Ottawa ON based C-CORE and Cambridge, ON based exactEarth.
  • The Quebec based SCALE.AI Supply Chain Supercluster, which will work on building intelligent supply chains using artificial intelligence and robotics. According to its website, the consortium includes "over 80 Canadian companies, 26 business associations and 12 Canadian academic institutions."
Last fall, the government narrowed a field of about 50 original applicants to nine organizations. The money will be distributed over five years to the five winners, which will have to match the federal funding they receive, dollar for dollar.

A proposal from the Satellite Canada Innovation Network, which was discussed in the August 3rd, 2017 post, "Satellite Canada Applies for Innovation SuperCluster Funds," didn't make the list of finalists.

As second proposal, the Prairies’ smart agri-food supercluster, profiled in the August 31st, 2017 post, "MacDonald Dettwiler is Part of an Alberta Based Agrifood ‘Supercluster’ Proposal"and listed as one of the nine finalists, didn't make the final cut either.

The government expects the program to eventually create more than 50,000 jobs for Canadians.

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Canada US Cooperation in Space VS The US Questioning of Old Ideas Intended to Combat "Soviet" Expansionism

          By Chuck Black

When multiple mid-level bureaucrats from two separate countries come together in an open, public forum to explain that the existing method they use to interact has been very successful in the past and shouldn't be changed, then you just know that others further up the food chain have been thinking differently.

Such was the case when Scott Pace, the executive secretary of the US National Space Council (NSC), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, current Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Sylvain Laporte and past CSA president William "Mac" Evans, got together in Washington DC with several dozen other space experts on September 7th, 2018 as part of a public presentation from the Washington DC based Canada Institute titled "Over the Horizon: A New Era for Canada-US Space Cooperation?"

The initial two hour set of presentations is available on YouTube, for those who'd like to access the primary source material. Links are included in the image above.

But for those who are in a hurry, as outlined in the September 9th, 2018 Space News post, "US-Canada space relations not affected by trade dispute," both US and Canadian participants "praised the long history of cooperation between the two countries in space activities and expected it to continue."

Not that there is anything wrong with that. According to Laporte, "we have always found a way to cooperate."

Meanwhile, and according to the post:
...just a few blocks away at the offices of the United States Trade Representative, American and Canadian negotiators were discussing issues related to changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Those came after months of trade disputes between the countries.
Perhaps the real problem is that Canada doesn't yet realize that the game is changing when it comes to trade and cooperation with the US.

As outlined in the post:
Asked by one of the event’s moderators if space was “immune” to those trade tensions, Pace said he didn’t have the authority to address trade issues specifically. However, he argued that the growth of free trade between the two countries had its roots in security and defense cooperation during the Cold War. 
“I think we’re looking at, certainly, a period of adjustment as globalization poses new challenges,” he said. “I think that space is rather special. I would never take anything off the table for other trade discussions, but I think that the importance of space, our mutual interests there, is right now undisturbed.”
As for whether those mutual interests will remain undisturbed tommorrow, that's not a question the space agency leaders from either country were really able to answer.

The reality of the situation is a different kettle of fish entirely.

At this point, our current CSA president would be well served by generating a few independent projects which don't require the active participation of someone else's space agency in order to move forward. That would certainly provide some Canadian leverage in any future cooperative talks between the CSA, NASA and their respective national governments.

But the CSA is probably not going to go down this path, if only because it doesn't have the support of its political masters in the Federal Liberal government.

That's a shame. We had a good space program once.

It would be nice if we could have one again. 
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

When it Comes to the LOP-G, NASA Should Summon ESPRIT and/or Call for a Falcon

          By Brian Orlotti

European engineers have designed a new robotic logistical spacecraft for NASA's proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G).

Initial concept of the ESPRIT module, as of September 2017. Graphic c/o RussianSpaceWeb.

As outlined in the September 9th, 2018 Russia Space Web post, "ESA develops logistics vehicle for cis-lunar outpost," the new module, dubbed the European system providing refueling infrastructure and telecommunications (ESPRIT) is intended to supply fuel, power and communications for the LOP-G.

Its design is a compromise intended to compensate for changes made in early 2017 to the LOP-G's assembly schedule which imposed severe mass restrictions and, therefore, fuel restrictions on its first component.

The LOP-G’s planned first component, the power and propulsion bus (PPB) was to have been launched in 2023. In May of 2017, to deal with the imposed mass restrictions, engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) proposed to split the PPB into two separately launched modules.

The second module, dubbed the logistics communication and utilization bay (LCUB), would offload certain tasks previously assigned to the PPB. It could take on a Canadarm, a small airlock for scientific experiments and communications gear. The LCUB would also feature an observation window in its airlock.

In mid-2017, the LCUB was renamed to ESPRIT. As its name implies, the spacecraft would carry xenon and hydrazine fuel and directly plug into the propulsion system of the PPB. ESPRIT’s onboard communications system would enable it to serve as a comms relay between assets on the lunar surface, other spacecraft and Earth.

The Japanese space agency, JAXA, is considering installing an experimental optical communications system on ESPRIT.

In order to maneuver the module to the cis-lunar station, ESPRIT would be launched along with a space tug based on the Japanese HTV or a private vehicle.

In April 2018, the new Falcon Heavy rocket became another potential carrier for ESPRIT. Launching ESPRIT on a Falcon Heavy rocket would enable it carry more fuel. However neither NASA nor the ESA have confirmed whether they would actually make use of a Falcon Heavy.

After its initial internal studies, the ESA decided that further development of ESPRIT would be conducted under contracts awarded to industry on a competitive basis.

One such contract was given to a group comprised of Toulouse France based Airbus, Cannes France based Thales Alenia Space and Bremen Germany based OHB.

The next phases of ESPRIT’s development, known as Phase B2/C and D, are scheduled to begin in early 2020 with a flightworthy module delivered to its launch site in Florida by mid-2023 and launched on an NASA's costly Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in late 2023 or 2024.

An NASA powerpoint slide from an August 27th, 2018 NASA Advisory Council meeting released by NASAWatch via twitter. As outlined in the August 27th, 2018 NASAWatch post, "NASA Wants the Lunar Gateway To Do Everything for Everyone," the final design of the LOP-G has not been finalized and NASA may be overpromising features and functionality in order to secure funding and molify potential partners. It's also worth noting that the ESPRIT module doesn't seem to be included in this slide. Graphic c/o NASA.

With NASA and the ESA’s bureaucratic miasma causing delays, redesigns and compromises, one is temped to ask why the two space agencies have stuck with the SLS launcher for ESPRIT.

Favouring a scarce, prohibitively expensive launcher versus Falcon Heavy, a cheaper system now actually being produced, does little for efficiency.

Not Invented Here’ syndrome, perhaps?
Brian Orlotti.

Brian Orlotti is a network operator at the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), a not-for-profit network service provider to the education and research sectors.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

2018 Listing of 50+ Academic Facilities Contributing to Canadian Space Expertise

Although the private sector contributes the majority of domestic research and development funding for Canada's aerospace sector, government funding in this area is often tied to academia through research grants.
From "The Relationship Diremption," the twentieth episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," which often makes interesting observations on the motivations of scientists and academics. This episode originally aired on Thursday, April 10th, 2014. Graphic c/o Big Bang Theory Wiki.

It's worth noting that, while overall academic R&D funding was boosted substancially in the 2018 Federal budget, funding for the hard sciences may be drying-up over the next few years, due to increased political concerns over its usefulness to the domestic economy.  

After all, with up to half of all graduating space scientists and aerospace engineers needing to leave the country to find their first job after graduation, there is some reasonable concern that the investment made in their schooling may not be recouped if graduates don't pay Canadian taxes or contribute their expertise to the Canadian economy.
Current Canadian Space Agency (CSA) academic initiatives are focused around the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP) which, as outlined in the May 7th, 2018 post, "Canadian Cubesat Project Finally Moving Forward," is a professor led initiative funding fifteen cubesat and space focused proposals from Canadian based post-secondary institutions.  
Of course, and as outlined both below and on the CSA web page focused on the quarterly "Disclosure of grants and contributions awards," the CCP is certainly not the only active CSA academic initiative.
The CCP also bears more than a passing resemblance in structure and goals to the private sector Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC) a lower cost, student led initiative which, as outlined in the November 30th, 2017 post, "Update on the 2017 Canadian Satellite Design Challenge," has been attemping to perform much the same function as the CCP since 2011.
Below is a partial listing of the more noteworthy academic institutions with connections to the space and aerospace industry.

The Aurora College Aurora Research Institute (ARI) - This research centre in Inuvik was created by what was then known as the Federal government department of Indian and Northern Affairs in 1964 to provide support for scientific research in the North West Territories (NWT) and Northern Yukon.
The ARI contribution to the CCP is the AuroraSat project, the creation of a "globally interactive game for amateur radio operators" and the cultivation of northern voices in indigenous languages.

Academic partners include the University of Alberta, the University of Alberta North, Nunavut Arctic College, Yukon College. Government collaborators on the AuroraSat project include the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure, a department of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
The List of Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges - An annual listing of Canada's top research colleges tracked by amounts allocated and areas of expertise.
It's best read in conjunction with the list of Canada's Top 50 Research Universities and the list of Canada's Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders
Taken together, those three lists put a lie to the common Canadian perception that most domestic research and development (R&D) is funded by academics through universities.
In fact, the majority of Canadian R&D activities are funded through the private sector. Public sector and academic R&D initiatives are typically tied (via granting agencies such as the National Research Council) to ongoing private sector initiatives, in order to maximize their effectiveness and the public relations benefits for the granting organizations.
The data from the three lists is compiled annually by Toronto ON based Research Infosource. The 2018 lists are expected to be released later this fall.
The Canadian Universities Website - A useful overview of academic expertise in this area covering universities and colleges from "Canada's higher education and career guide."
Of particular note is the listing of Space Science Scholarships in Canada. Other academic sectors can also be accessed from the search page.
Canadore College - Ex-Federal conservative MP Jay Aspin's plans to turn this sleepy community college into an "international high tech business hub" ran aground with the 2015 Federal election (which threw the ruling conservatives out of office) and the 2016 bankruptcy of a key partner, the Payerne, Switzerland based Swiss Space Systems (SSS).
As outlined in the January 24th, 2017 post, "Swiss Court Confirms Swiss Space Systems Bankruptcy But CEO Jaussi Might Buy Assets and Start Over," the centerpiece of that plan was an attempt to launch a "mini-space shuttle" from the Jack Garland Airport in North Bay, ON.
Maybe one day, the good times will return. 
Carleton University - The university Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is the home of the Carleton Mechanical and Aerospace Society (CMAS) and the CU3SAT micro-satellite project, which competed in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC).
The Carleton Aerospace faculty is one of the largest and the most comprehensive academic aerospace research programs in Canada with a wide range of unique, state-of-the-art research facilities. 
Concordia University - Home of the Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation (CIADI), which promotes "awareness and provide leading edge know-how among engineering students engaged in aerospace design and innovation."
Concordia is also home to Space Concordia, a team of engineering students which competed in the CSDC (they won in 2012) and proposed the Concordia Hyperspectral Imager and Radiation-Tolerant Satellite (CHIRad-Sat) as their contribution to the current CCP program. 
CHIRad-Sat will test an imaging instrument to collect data on dust measurements and study the effect of climate change in the Kluane Lake region plus evaluate the viability of a new electronic component for future cubesats.
Academic collaborators include the L'Institut polytechnique de Grenoble and Université de Montréal. Industry collaborators include Kalray S.A., MDA, Mission Control Space Services MPB Communications and the Spectrum Aerospace. Governmental/NGO collaborators include Let's Talk Science, a national, charitable organization focused on education and outreach to support youth development.
Dalhousie University - Home of the Dalhousie University CubeSat (DUCS), one of the East coast contributions to the CCP.
DUCS will test a new cubesat frame made out of lightweight metal alloys and validate the use of innovative onboard solar energy and battery storage technology to power a stabilization wheel to better control the position of the satellite's instruments. 
Industry collaborators include IMP Aerospace and Xeos Technologies.
Laurentian University – In partnership with Science North, Laurentian offers the comprehensive Science Communication graduate program, which covers "the theory underlying good communication as well as the practical challenges of effectively communicating science and the issues involving science in society."

McGill University - Home of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, focused on "training aviation and space focused lawyers to serve throughout the world."
McGill is also home to the Centre for Research in Air & Space Law, which acts as a research arm for the Institute of Air and Space Law.
The faculty maintains close relationships with the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum Committee on Air and Space Law, organizes conference on the topic and publishes the Annals of Space Law Journal.
McMaster University - This Hamilton ON based public university entry in the CCP program is the McMaster NEUDOSE cubesat mission, which is designed to measure the amount of radiation to which astronauts could be exposed during spacewalks.
The NEUDOSE academic collaborator is Mohawk College. The industry collaborator is Bubble Technology Industries and the government/NGO collaborator on the program is the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. 
Memorial University of Newfoundland - The St. John's, NL based public university entry in the CCP program is the Killick-1, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) reflectometry cubesat for measuring sea ice thickness and extent.
The academic collaborator is the University of Prince Edward Island and the industry collaborator is C-CORE.
The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics- A basic research centre dedicated to "exploring the world around us at its most fundamental level."
The institute supports over 80 resident researchers and a vigorous visitor program of cross-disciplinary research in condensed matter, cosmology & gravitation, particle physics, quantum foundations, quantum gravity, quantum information theory, superstring theory and other related areas.
Polytechnics Canada - The "voice of leading research-intensive, publicly funded colleges and institutes of technology."
The organization is a strong advocate for moving at least some of the government money focused on R&D out of universities and into community colleges and trade schools. 
Queens University - Home of the annual student run Queen's Space Conference (QSC), aimed at connecting university student-delegates with leading professionals in the space industry.

Royal Military College (RMC) - The Department of Space Science program at RMC offers both undergraduate and graduate programs with specialization focused around theoretical, experimental and observational aspects of space science: from space mission analysis, mission and payload design, remote sensing, satellite tracking, ionospheric physics and space weather, and astronomy and astrophysics.

Ryerson University - Possesses a well respected Engineering Graduate Program, which focuses on aerodynamics and propulsion, aerospace structures, manufacturing, avionics and aerospace systems and has some overlap in technologies, with the space industry.
The Department of Computer Sciences Graduate Studies is a hotbed of AI research and development. 
Universities Canada - The "voice of Canadian universities," at least according to their website,
It's a useful first stop when building an inventory of Canadian educational facilities focused on science, engineering, space activities or anything else. 
According to their website, the organization "advances the mission of our 96 member institutions to transform lives, strengthen communities and find solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our world" by
  • Advocating for Canadian universities at the federal level
  • Providing a forum for university leaders to share ideas and address challenges in higher education
  • Supporting students by providing online information on university study and offering scholarships on behalf of private sector companies
  • Fostering collaboration among universities and governments, the private sector, communities and international partners to help build a better world
The organization also publishes the annual "Directory of Canadian Universities."
The University of Alberta - Home to both the Centre for Earth Observation Sciences (CEOS), which uses Earth observation and imaging technology to monitor environmental changes, manage resources and formulate sustainable development policies, and the Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology (ISSET), a pioneering interdisciplinary centre for planetary and space research.
The university also hosts the annual Canada-Norway Student Sounding Rocket (CaNoRock) exchange program and is home to the AlbertaSat team, which competed in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge and managed to become the only team to actually loft their Ex-Alta 1 satellite into orbit. 
As outlined in the  June 5th, 2017 CSA press release, "Successful launch of Ex-Alta 1, University of Alberta's CubeSat, from the International Space Station," the cubesat was deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) into a low Earth orbit on May 26th, 2017.
Their current contribution to the CCP program is the Ex-Alta 2 cubesat, a platform for the orbital demonstration of a digital fluxgate magnetometer designed at the University of Alberta. Ex-Alta 2 will also connect and share data with the QB50 constellation, an international network of cubesats managed by the Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Belgium based von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, using an onboard Langmuir probe and digital fluxgate magnetometer.
Academic collaborators on the project include Aurora College, the University of Calgary, the University of Iowa, the University of Oslo, the University of Saskatchewan, York University, Yukon College and the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics.
The University of British Columbia - Home of the student led UBC Orbit team which competed in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge and of Dr. Jaymie Matthews, who acts as chief scientist and principal investigator for the Microvariability & Oscillations of STars (MOST) micro-satellite.
UBC also boasts a number of of other student led, competitive aerospace focused teams, including the UBC AeroDesign team, the UBC Mars Colony team and the UBC Rocket team
The University of Calgary - Home of the Institute for Space Research, which is part of the Department of Physics and focused on space plasma, aural imaging and the analysis and modeling of those phenomena.
One of their more useful projects of note is the Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP), a scientific payload for the CAScade, Smallsat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE), satellite, a mission focused on telecommunications advances and solar weather research, which was funded by the CSA.
A team from the University of Calgary also competed in the 2014 Canadian Satellite Design Challenge.
The University of Guelph - Home to the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) and its Space and Advanced Life Support Agriculture program.

As outlined most recently in the August 9th, 2018 post, "Could Space Industry Funding Come From Canada's New Cannabis Industry?," the facility is generally considered to be a essential part of Canada's contributions to plant research and development for space and closed environment related activities.
The facility maintains useful connections with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and retains the strong support of NASA's Advanced Life Support (ALS) community.
The University of Manitoba -  The university is home to the Advanced Satellite Integration Facility (ASIF), a 6,000-square-foot area, large enough to accommodate up to three satellites at various stages of assembly. It includes an ISO Class 8 clean room facility to satisfy the requirements of current and future Canadian government satellite programs.
As outlined in the March 4th, 2015 UM Today article, "Partners in space, U of M and Magellan Aerospace to build satellites," the ASIF facility built the three satellite buses being used for the uncoming RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). 
The UofM is also home to the University of Manitoba Space Applications and Technology Society (UMSATS), which competed in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge
The UofMs current contribution to the CCP is Manitoba SAT-1, which will study the composition of asteroids and the Moon.
Academic collaborators include the Interlake School Division, the University of Winnipeg and York University. The industry collaborator is Magellan Aerospace.
The University of New Brunswick - This Fredricton and St. John based university entry in the CCP program is the CubeSat NB, a project designed to provide new insights into the behaviour of Earth’s ionosphere.
CubeSat NB will receive signals transmitted by global navigation satellite systems, such as GPS, as they travel through the ionosphere and are affected by it.
Academic collaborators include the Saint John Campus of New Brunswick Community College and the University of Moncton. 
The University of Prince Edward Island - This Charlottetown based university entry in the CCP program is the SpudNik-1, a cubesat-based high-resolution imaging system for precision agriculture being developed through the Department of Physics and the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering.
Academic collaborators include Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. The industry collaborator is C-Core.
The University of Saskatchewan - Home of the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST), a student run organization which dominated the 2011 NASA sponsored Space Elevator Games, competed in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC) and most recently participated in the 2018 University Rover Challenge.
The university is also home to the Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies (ISAS), which maintains strong Federal links to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) through its contributions to the Canadian Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imager System (OSIRIS) for the Swedish ODIN satellite, the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission, the various Canadian Geo-space Monitoring (CGSM) programs and the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC).
ISAS maintains international research connections through the Climate And Weather of the Sun-Earth System (CAWSES) program, the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) and the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) program.
The University of Saskatchewan contribution to the CCP program is IDRSat, which will study how materials degrade in space by looking at how useful construction materials are affected by extreme temperatures, radiation, and space debris in low Earth orbit, and by studying material changes in colour, texture, brittleness, and electrical conductivity. 
Academic collaborators include Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Alberta. Industry collaborators include Innocorps Research Corporation and SED Systems.
Université de SherbrookeThis Sherbrooke based university has contributed UdeSat as its entry into the CCP program. The cubesat will conduct one of the first demonstrations of a quantum sensor in space.
The academic collaborator for the project is the École nationale d'aéronautique. 
Oddly enough, and as outlined in the September 16th, 2004 Liaison post, "UdeSat I : un appareil très petit pour des usages infiniment grands," an earlier UdeSat microsat, also originating from the Université de Sherbrooke, was once tested in microgravity during parabolic flights organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Bordeaux, France, but never went to orbit.
The University of Toronto - Home to both the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), the first Canadian academic institution able to build low cost spacecraft, micro-satellites and nano-satellites, and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA).
As the "big boy" of academic space activities in Canada, the UTIAS-SFL collaborates with business, government and academic institutions on the development of new space technologies and strengthening the Canadian skill base in space systems engineering but has no formal contribution to the CCP.
Recent UTIAS-SFL satellites have included the Brite Constellation of micro-satellitesAISSAT-2 (a follow-on from the very successful AISSAT-1) and the Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Microsatellite (M3MSat). The facility also has close relationships with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Bombardier, the NASA Ames Research Center, MDA and multiple foreign governments.
As well, the University of Toronto is the home of the University of Toronto Aerospace Team (last discussed in the April 3rd, 2017 post, "UofT Undergraduate Satellite Builders Raise Almost $500K to Build & Launch a Microsatellite in 2019"), the UofT Entrepreneurship Hatchery (which includes the UofT Idea Market) and the UofT Rotman School Creative Destruction Labs, which includes an AI, a quantum and a space focused start-up stream.
The University of Victoria - Home of the optical and radio calibration of atmospheric attenuation cubesat (ORCA2Sat), which is UVICs contribution to the CCP.
The cubesat will develop and test new advancements in technology to better understand “dark energy,” an enigmatic form of energy making up 75% of the universe believed to cause the universe to expand at an accelerating rate. 
Academic collaborators include Harvard University, Simon Fraser University, the Technical University of Lisbon and the University of British Columbia. The industry collaborator is Space Systems Loral and the governmental/NGO collaborator is the National Research Council.
The University of Waterloo - The home of Canada's largest engineering faculty (divided up into several different schools and research centres, most notably Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering), the university faculty has contributed to a variety of space focused projects. 
These include the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) instrument on the Herschel Space Observatory, the VASCULAR and BP-Reg medical experiments conducted in 2012-13 aboard the International Space Station (ISS) by Commander Chris Hadfield (who joined the Waterloo faculty in 2014) and a proposed micro-satellite mission (the Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite or QEYSSat) that would demonstrate long-distance quantum key distribution from space. 
The university also hosts the Waterloo Space Society (WSS), which organizes and promotes space-related events at Waterloo and within the larger community. WSS has two active engineering sub-teams: WatSat which participated in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge and the Waterloo Rocketry Team.
Western University – Home to the Canadian Lunar Research Network (now a part of the new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute), the Centre for Planetary Science & Exploration (CPSX) and the co-host of the Canadian Astrobiology Network.
Western contains Canada's only graduate program in planetary science, with over 40 PhD and MSc students and a new undergraduate minor degree in planetary science and space exploration
The university can also boast of its role in development of the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSAT), the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the proposed 2016 ExoMars Orbiter and EDM mission, plus the proposed ExoMars 2020 mission and has a close relationships with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the NASA Ames Research CenterMacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) and multiple foreign governments. 
Western's contribution to the CCP is the Western University - Nunavut Arctic College CubeSat Project, which will conduct a flight-test with a novel imaging system for engineering technology demonstration with the potential to provide virtual reality-ready images. 
Industry collaborators include Canadensys Aerospace and MDA.
York University - Home of the Lassonde School of Engineering, which includes the department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering and the Earth and Space Science graduate program.
York scientists, engineers and students have contributed the Phoenix Scout Mission, SCISAT (the Canadian Space Agency mission to research the ozone layer), the Canadian Wind Imaging Interferometer (WINDII) on NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) and the Canadian Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imager System (OSIRIS) for the Swedish ODIN satellite. York is also home of the York University Rover Team
The university contribution to CCP is the educational space science and engineering cubesat experiment (ESSENCE), which will test a Canadian-developed wide-angle camera to observe snow and ice coverage in Northern Canada. The information collected through its images could help map the thawing of Arctic ice and permafrost and give a better picture of the impacts of climate change in the region. 
Academic collaborators include ICT Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology and the University of Sydney. The industry collaborator is Canadensys Aerospace.
Yukon College - Whitehorse's contribution to the CCP is YukonSat, which will focus on promoting STEM and engaging the community through a series of initiatives,
Academic collaborators include Aurora College and the University of Alberta. The governmental/NGO collaborator is Natural Resources Canada.


Editors Note: This listing is certainly not complete. If you think some important faculty or organization has been left off the list and shouldn't have been, or if you notice an error in an existing post, then send a quick note to and we'll update the information.

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