Monday, October 18, 2010

Ideas on Canada's Future in Space

For those of us needing a quick reminder, the 2010 Canadian Space Summit is being held at the Lord Elgin hotel in downtown Ottawa, Ontario from November 19th - 21st and will focus on "2010: A New Canadian Space Odyssey."

Mark Boucher, my editor over at (where I write the "This Week in Space for Canada" column) is running the commercial space activities track and has promised me that a fascinating group of present and future space industry movers and shakers will be in attendance.

He's also convinced me to put together a presentation for the summit which I've tentatively titled "Two Billion Dollars for the Canadian Space Agency: Historical Antecedents, Available Options and a Realistic Appraisal of What Can be Done."

My starting point will be a comment Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Steve MacLean made on May 12th, during a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) where he said:
“You know what? If you want to do a first rate (job) on some of the examples (of potential CSA projects) I gave you, you are looking at an additional budget of $2 billion over five years. That will put us at the table. That will drive innovation."
My intent is to put a little bit of context around just what that $2 billion could actually buy for Canada. I'll talk about where that money might come from, the chances of it being allocated by the Canadian government and how our current challenges compare with those surrounding previous Canadian long term space plans (after all, there have been several, starting with the original Chapman Report).

Of course, there are probably others with better qualifications to engage in this sort of dialogue and one of those experts is certainly Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is scheduled to to be a part of International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 34 crew and will be commanding Expedition 35 in 2012 and 2013.

Here's what he has to say about our space future.

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