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.

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