Friday, July 24, 2009

OK, So Maybe the CSA Does Provide Some Support for Small Aerospace Firms...

I’ve been getting some excellent feedback from a variety of sources related to my July 19th Commercial Space blog post under the headline “Canadian Space Agency Provides "No Dedicated Programs" to Support Small Aerospace Firms."

The post is focused on comments from page ten of a publication titled: Small Aerospace Companies: Space Activities in North America and Europe written by investment bank Near Earth LLC which states that, when compared to organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and others, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has "no dedicated programs for small business."

Here is one comment from a person who states quite unequivocally that:
Although, in a literal sense, it may be true that there are no dedicated programs, it is effectively quite an inaccurate comment. The CSA supports many small companies through a series of procurement opportunities.

In fact, it is interesting that one of the first highlighted examples of technology in the Near Earth report is the Neptec Space Vision System that is used in the Shuttle program and which was funded by the CSA. Although the big CSA funding goes to the major companies like MDA, the majority of the contracts are awarded to small and medium sized companies. Hopefully, someone at the CSA will offer a rebuttal to the Near Earth report.
The commentator goes on to list a number of CSA programs that “allow small companies to obtain funding, along with the bigger companies.” They include:
I understand where the reader is coming from when he states that “typically, although the major procurement contracts may be awarded to a large company to manage and lead, they most often include a number of subcontracts to smaller companies” and these subcontracts help to sustain and grow small business every bit as much as the more formal programs administered through NASA and the ESA.

But I also can’t help but note that he categorizes the comment from the report about CSA providing no dedicated programs for small aerospace firms as being true in “a literal sense.”

So how do real small business space subcontractors feel about this state of affairs? Does CSA do enough to nurture and grow small aerospace businesses through the existing process?

The floor is open for questions, queries, statements of concern or support and general comments.

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