Sunday, October 03, 2010

DEXTRE Corner Cutting, Com Dev Deal Making and IAC Storytelling

Anyone who works in space focused industries has just got to know that more time, effort and money is spent proposing scientific experiments and making proposals about how things should be done than is ever spent on the actual doing of things.

That's why we have organizations like the International Astronautical Federation which just finished up their 61st International Astronautical Congress (IAS 2010) through the Czech Space Office of the Czech Republic.

IAC events provide a chance for people with ideas and airfare to peer review their projects and plans, which mostly means that they run their ideas up the flagpole to see if someone able to fund them will stand up and salute.

Here are a couple of quick Canadian focused commercial space news stories percolating about and among the IAC 2010 attendees:
"the Hisdesat investment is the second trans-Atlantic tie-up on space-based Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) in less than a week. On Sept. 28, Orbcomm of Ft. Lee, N.J., announced it had contracted with OHB Technology of Germany and OHB’s LuxSpace subsidiary of Luxembourg to provide two small satellites for Orbcomm’s AIS service, which is expected to accelerate with the launch, set for 2011, of Orbcomm’s 18 AIS-equipped machine-to-machine messaging satellites."
  • And finally, according to the September 30th, 2010 Space News article "Common Exploration Plan will be Slow in the Making" the worlds principal space-faring nations, which have spent the past three years talking about a common exploration strategy through their activities in the International Space Exploration Coordinating Group (ISECG), seem to have very few actual activities or accomplishments they can attribute to those conversations, except perhaps for one Canadian based bright spot in the form of Gilles Leclerc, director-general for space exploration at the CSA. Leclerc is quoted in the article as crediting the ISECG with helping to shape the Canadian government’s decision to invest $100 million over three years into robotic technologies. According to the article, Leclerc also said the ISECG work on lunar exploration has helped Canada to position itself as “a niche player” in future space exploration missions.

I'm not so sure that I totally agree with Monsieur Leclercs comments (and I'm actually rather hoping that he was misquoted by Space News).

My understanding has always been that the Canadian government decided to put extra money into space activities specifically to maintain Canadian access and control over the Radarsat I, Radarsat II and the follow-on Radarsat Constellation program when Canadian prime contractor Macdonald Dettwiler (MDA) attempted to sell the space components of it's business to US based Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in 2008.

Perhaps our traveling CSA director-general for space exploration will provide a little more context on his comments over the next little while.

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