Thursday, April 19, 2018

The 2018 Listing of Canadian Space Lobbyists, Advocates, Activists and Groups

There are a lot of space advocates in Canada.
Some of them are affiliated with academic institutions while others are more business focused. Some are wrapped around specific ideas and concepts such as the "open source" development of space missions/ equipment or "working in space" or something else. 
A few are tied to activities such as launching rockets, building satellites, raising money for scientific research or organizing public presentations.
Below is a representative sampling of some of the more interesting organizations in this category.


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The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) - The biggest and most important player in this list. 
A not-for-profit business association and lobby group focused on aerospace policy issues that have a direct impact on aerospace and space companies and jobs in Canada.
AIAC was heavily involved in the November 2012 Aerospace Review (the second volume, titled "Reaching Higher: Canada's Interests and Future in Space" focused almost entirely on the Canadian space industry and has become the default operational manual for current Canadian Space Agency activities). Also of note is the September 2016 AIAC white paper on "The Future of Canada’s Space Sector: An Engine of Innovation For Over Fifty Years." 

AIAC has strong connections with the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Qu├ębec (CRIAQ), the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), the British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC), the Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC) and most of the other Canadian industry advocacy groups. Membership lists are available through the annual AIAC guide to Canada's Aerospace Industry. AIAC organizes a variety of events, including the annual Canadian Aerospace Summit, typically held each November in Ottawa, ON.
The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society (ASX) - Engineering and science students often receive their first opportunity to meet industry executives and university academics by participating in campus clubs like this non-profit, student run organization at the University of Toronto. ASX is best known for its annual "Expanding Canada" symposiums held in Toronto every January.

The AstroNut's Kids Space Club - A space focused educational group for elementary school students created in May 2010 by the father/ son team of Ray and Brett Bielecki. The various "missions" of spaceship "Mercury One" and its successor "Mercury Two" have been profiled on CBC, CTV, CITY-TV, A-Channel, the Daily Planet (for the Discovery Channel) and Rogers TV. Best known for its annual "What's Up in Space Camp and STEM Conference," which is targeted to elementary and secondary school students.

The Calgary Space Workers Society - A local, Alberta based advocacy group focused on how "to live and work in space." which rose to prominence 2007 after hosting the "2007 Canadian Space Summit," at the University of Calgary, but maintained a lower profile since then. Still active and operating as a "science club."

The Canadian Association of Rocketry and its listing of affiliated organizations - Who says that Canadian's don't build rockets? Certainly not the members of these self-supporting, non-profit clubs focused around building rockets and promoting the development of amateur rocketry in Canada.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) – The largest hi-tech association in Canada.
Not specifically an aerospace or space focused organization, but knowledgeable on many of the same taxation and innovation issues faced by aerospace.

Originally focused on software and telecommunications, the organization also provides good background material on government programs related to innovation, such as the Federal government Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit and the CATA Innovation Nation National Campaign (designed to boost Canada’s competitiveness and innovation rankings).
The Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) - A nonprofit technical organization for aeronautics, space and remote sensing.
CASI is another of the big players straddling the Canadian landscape, with a storied history built around strong business and international partnerships.

CASI hosts and contributes to a variety of local and international events including the 65th International Astronautics Congress (IAC), which was held in Toronto from September 29th - October 3rd, 2014; the 2016 CASI ASTRO conference, which was held in Ottawa, Ontario from May 17th - 19th, 2016; and the upcoming 2018 CASI ASTRO conference, which will be held in Quebec City, PQ from May 15th - 17th, 2018.
The Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) - An organization promoting and encouraging public involvement and funding for Canada's public science centres. CASC includes over forty member institutions and organizes a variety of events through out the year. 

The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) – Academic focused organization founded in 1971 and incorporated in 1983 as a society of astronomers devoted "to the promotion and advancement of knowledge of the universe through research and education."
The CASCA Joint Committee on Space Astronomy advises the Canadian Space Agency (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 Canadian Remote Sensing Society (CRSS-SCT) - Focused on Canadian activities relating to geomatics (the discipline of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering geographic information, or spatially referenced information), this scientific association organizes conferences and publishes (in conjuction with CASI) the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing (CJRS)

The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge - A privately funded, biannual event focused on teams of Canadian university students (undergraduate and graduate) who design and build an operational small-satellite, based on commercially-available, "off-the-shelf" components.
As outlined in the November 30th, 2017 post, "Update on the 2017 Canadian Satellite Design Challenge," while the CSDC is still active, there is quite a bit of overlap between what the CSDC has been doing with university student run teams since 2011 (without large amounts of funding) and the Canadian Cubesat Project, a recent CSA proposal to fund and launch university designed and built cube-sats.
The Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC) - Passionate professionals from industry, academia, and science-based governmental departments focused on "building bridges between science, policy and society."
The centre also organizes the annual Canadian Science Policy Conference, a well attended event featuring a variety of knowledgeable academic and government experts.

Until now, the CSPC hasn't really focused on private sector research and development (R&D), which is kinda odd since, as outlined in the recently released Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) report, "Competing in a Global Innovation Economy: The Current State of R&D in Canada," the majority of Canadian based R&D is performed by the private sector. Perhaps that focus will change over the next little while.
The Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) – A registered Canadian not-for-profit industry organization existing "to advance the economic, legal and political environment for space and aerospace focused companies." Organizes meetings for the hobbyist, the academic and (sometimes) the entrepreneur. Recently resigned executive director Michelle Mendes was a member of the ill-fated Space Advisory Board (SAB).

The Canadian Space Society (CSS) – A small, but well respected charity created to promote Canadian space activities. Functions mostly as a "big tent," for those with a general interest in the CSA and space activities. Has organized the annual Canadian Space Summit since 2008.

Engineers Canada - The national organization of the 12 provincial and territorial associations that regulate the profession of engineering in Canada and license the country's more than 260,000 members of the engineering profession. The organization also issues national position statements on key issues relating to the public interest, including infrastructure, labour mobility and regulating the profession.

The Geological Association of Canada - A national geo-science society, publisher and distributor of geo-science books and journals.
The association also holds a variety of conferences, meetings and exhibitions for the discussion of geological problems.
Hacklab.TO - One of a number of small Canadian organizations like the Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, the Kwartzlab Makerspace, the Makerkids non-profit workshop space for kids, Think|Haus, the Site 3 coLaboratoryUnLab and others who focus on the technologies associated with open source additive manufacturing/ 3-D printing. These techniques show great promise for a variety of low cost space manufacturing technologies.

The North York Astronomy Association (NYAA) - This Ontario based club is the organizer of the annual StarFest star party, which is recognized as one of the world's top 10 gatherings of amateur astronomers for the purpose of observing the sky.

The OpenLuna Foundation - A privately funded public outreach program (officially a US based 501(c) 3) to encourage the use of open-source tools and methodologies (open design) for space focused activities.
Once quite active, but has mostly slipped under the radar since 2010. The founding member and project manager/ director of the organization is Paul Graham, who lives in London, Ontario.
The Planetary Society Canada - A subgroup of the larger US based Planetary Society. a non-government, nonprofit organization involved in research and engineering projects related to astronomy, planetary science, exploration, public outreach, and political advocacy, which was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman.
The current CEO is Bill Nye who, as outlined in the March 6th, 2018 Global News post, "Justin Trudeau, Bill Nye talk pipeline politics, Kinder Morgan in post-budget meeting," recently shared the stage with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk science and politics.

Planetary Society global community outreach consultant Kate Howells was also a member of the ill-fated Space Advisory Board (SAB).
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) - 4,800 members, including about 500 "unattached" members from remote parts of Canada and around the world and strong chapters in Vancouver and 28 other centres across the country makes RASC one of Canada's largest space and astronomy advocacy groups.
Since 2009, the organization has purchased the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario and SkyNews; the Canadian Magazine of Astronomy and Stargazing. An underrated and successful gem, mostly hiding in the much larger, Canadian landscape.
The Royal Canadian Institute (RCI) - The oldest scientific society in Canada, founded in Toronto in 1849 by a small group of civil engineers, architects and surveyors led by Sandford Fleming. The current membership is focused around events and lectures promoting scientific advancement.

Science Rendezvous - A "grassroots" not-for-profit organization and public platform to promote science awareness and increase science literacy in Canada. Holds the yearly, spring Science Rendezvous at the University of Toronto, St. George campus.

Space Canada – A not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of solar energy from space.
Organized the 2009 Symposium on Solar Energy from Space and currently promoting the 2018 International Symposium and Workshop on Space Solar Power, which will be held in concert with the National Space Society (NSS) International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2018), being held in Los Angeles, CA from May 23rd - 27th, 2018.
Space Canada president and CEO George Dietrich has a long history of supporting and funding US and Canadian space activists and their activities. 
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Canadian chapter - Part of an international group of student-run organizations dedicated to promoting public interest in space through the use of unique projects, research programs, and professional development opportunities in the Canadian space industry.
SEDS was founded September 1980, primarily by Peter Diamandis, Scott Scharfman, Richard Sorkin, Robert D. Richards and Todd B. Hawley.

Other countries with active SEDS groups include the US, the UK and India.
The Toronto International Space Apps Challenge - An annual "hackathon" organized each spring as part of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

Toronto Students for the Advancement of Aerospace (TSAA) - Another of the multitude of inter-university student organization striving to promote the advancement of aerospace through student leadership and hands-on initiatives plus serve as the student's first academic contact point to the wider world of academics and business.

The University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT) - One of the more successful campus clubs focused on the building of aerospace focused projects for international competitions, but otherwise typical of clubs found on most college and university campuses with science and engineering faculties.
Last profiled in the April 3rd, 2017 post, "UofT Undergraduate Satellite Builders Raise Almost $500K to Build & Launch a Microsatellite in 2019."

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