Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Canadian Space Based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Requirements

There is a useful article from Wade Larson, Director of Business Development of Space Missions at MDA on the topic “Canadian Space Based ISR Comes of Age” on page 36 of the current issue of FrontLine Defence (the May/ June 2009 issue which unfortunately, hasn’t been posted on the website yet).

The article is focused on the requirements for space based assets to maintain Canadian sovereignty and national security

In the article, Mr. Larson states that “while the government has committed significant resources to the task, continuous surveillance of the vast areas over which Canada exercises jurisdiction is clearly beyond the combined capabilities of the national portfolio of fielded or planned land based, airborne or seaborne ISR assets.”

He believes that the only “clear answer” to maintaining the required monitoring and security of Canadian territory is the development of a “coherent strategy” focused around a space based surveillance capability which would include the RADARSAT-2, the RADARSAT Constellation and the Polar Epsilon project.

FrontLine Defense often publishes space focused articles highlighting the strategic requirements and “dual use” capabilities of many of the items in our present Canadian space program (of course, I’ve been a little biased ever since they published an article of mine in the March/ April 2009 issue).

Other interesting recent space focused articles from FrontLine Defence include "Canada's Defence Space Program" by Colonel Francois Malo and "Saphire: Commissioning the D&D's First Operational Satellite" by Ken Krukewich, Glen Rumbold and Randy Shelly. Both articles ran in the November/ December 2008 issue.

There is certainly quite a bit of overlap between the military, the aerospace and the space focused communities in Canada and commercial space entrepreneurs should be aware of these links. Even the next Canadian Space Summit (organized around the dual use theme) is being held at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario from November 20-22nd.

I am scheduled as session chair of the commerce and commercialization track for the Summit so perhaps we'll see each other there (and does anyone have any suggestions for topics we can use for the sessions?).

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