For those of us who aren't following international stories and how (or if) they relate to Canadian space focused industry, here are a couple of interesting updates on what others are doing:
- The European Space Agency (ESA) is focused on 'a new space policy for Europe' at the European Parliament according to the October 29th, 2010 article of the same name posted on the ESA Portal site which focuses on the recent series of discussions on the Lisbon Treaty, and how the treaty affects Europe's "exploitation and exploration of space." The article quotes Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission as stating “we must reinforce investments in space.” According to Tajani “space policy is not only about satellites and launchers, but is also about providing concrete answers to the needs of European citizens." Canada is an associate member of the ESA.
|The US president|
- Over in India, where US President Obama is currently visiting (and suggesting that he'd support an Indian bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council), the November 4th edition of the Wall Street Journal has thoughtfully provided "A To-Do List for Obama in India" which includes liberalizing the U.S. export controls impacting India. For example, the article suggests removing the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the U.S. "Entity List" of organizations and individuals subject to "supplemental" licensing requirements or export controls.
|The ex-Indian President|
- Speaking of India and the US, the November 8th, 2010 Times of India article "India, America join hands to harness solar power" states that "India and (the) USA (have) teamed up on a space-based energy initiative aimed at turning both countries into net energy exporters, 48 hours before US President Barack Obama landed in India." The project will be led by Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, the former president of India and a respected scientist in his own right. Dr. Kalam once worked at ISRO, where he was known as the "missile man of India" for his work developing ballistic missile and space rocket technology.
- Speaking of just the US, according to the November 8th, 2010 post on the Network World Blog Layer 8 titled "NASA picks 13 companies to help build it's next big space rocket" the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) will spend $7.5 billion across thirteen companies to research heavy lift concepts and new technologies to send the next generation of Americans to the asteroids, the Lagrange points, the Moon and Mars.This program is part of the Obama administrations ongoing focus on new "breakthrough" technologies that the CSA is going to need to address if it wants to participate in future US space focused activities.
- Speaking of space based energy initiatives, the November 6th, 2010 Parabolic Arc article "An Overview of the Space Manufacturing Conference" provides useful commentary on the recently concluded Space Manufacturing Conference. Speakers included John Mankins, from Artemis Innovations who spoke about "Space Solar Power: Achievable within the Generation" and Canadian Eva-Jane Lark from BMO Nesbitt Burns who spoke on "Economic Incentive and Tax Credits for Space Resource Development." Mankins and Lark were also featured speakers at the 2009 Space Canada Symposium on Solar Energy from Space.
- Speaking of export controls, there is still no word on whether space tourism provider Virgin Galactic will move ahead with the development of the Virgin Galactic Satellite Launcher I, a micro-sat rocket designed to be launched from the Virgin Galactic White Knight II. According to the February 18th, 2009 Flight Global article titled "UK government to back air-launched satellite launcher" the original plan had the support of the British National Space Center (which became the UK Space Agency in March, 2009) and was a partnership between Virgin Galactic and Surrey Satellite Technologies (SSTL). Abu Dhabi based Aabar Investments signed on with a $280 million equity investment according to the July 29th, 2009 NASA Spaceflight.com post "Virgin Galactic Makes Deal for Small Satellite Launch" but the deal started unraveling after SSTL was unable to raise money to fund feasibility studies and dropped out of the project, according to the October 2nd, 2010 BBC News article "Virgin Galactic slows satellite launcher plans." Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides rejects the idea that the US government's technology export controls contributed to the project's lack of progress but frankly, he has to say that or else the Americans (and maybe the Abu Dhabians) might get angry with him, no matter what the real situation happens to be.
|Space Ship 2|
- In other UK space news, according to the November 8th, 2010 SiloBreaker article "UK space companies have defied the recession, growing by an average of 10% a year from 2007," UK based, space companies have essentially defied the recession and are growing by an average of 10% a year from 2007. This makes them typical of space focused companies in pretty much any jurisdiction and there are even specific areas of comparison with Canada, given that both economies until recently been mostly small niche providers with one or two large telecoms that distort the market.
|The Commercial Crew Initiative|
- In insurance news, the November 8th, 2010 Insurance News.net article "Space Partnership Int'l to Develop Unique Insurance Products For Nasa's Commercial Crew Initiative" states that insurance company Space Partnership International (SPI) has announced that it is offering a suite of space insurance products to support NASA's Commercial Crew Development ("CCDev") initiative. As Pete Bahn, the founder of TGV Rockets said at the Space Access ‘07 conference, "Amateurs talk propellant. Professionals talk insurance."