Monday, October 29, 2012

The CSA offers up a Variation in Funding

The recent Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announcement of opportunity (AO), focused on "Industrial Capacity- Building Contributions in the Area of Spacecraft Platforms" is unusual is several respects:

  • As outlined in section 1, the intent of the program is to "support Industrial Capacity Building related to the development of industrial capabilities which could range from developing novel concepts and /or products/services to improving industrial processes related to spacecraft platforms." This seems to be almost an open ended request for ideas, which the CSA could use in a variety of upcoming activities rather than a more specific request for the rovers or the next generation Canadarms which are more typical of  recent CSA procurement initiatives. 
  • Even better, as outlined in section 4.1, the theme of the AO is "to support the strengthening of industrial capabilities relating to the development of spacecraft platforms." A variety of systems are listed as being eligible for funding under the program but the key to this section is its open ended nature. According to this section, "there are no restrictions with respect to the size of the platform for which the technologies and related processes are being supported under this AO."
  • But best of all, as outlined in section 5, eligible recipients of the program are limited to "for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada." Other CSA grant or contribution initiatives have typically targeted universities or other non-profit institutions.
The program is funded for $1 million CDN to be divided up into increments of up to $100,000 CDN per project and the applications deadline was noon on October 22, 2012.

It's too early to tell whether or not this new variation on a very old procurement process will become a trend but it will certainly be interesting to see which projects end up getting funded.

Stay tuned. 


  1. the term 'spacecraft platforms' does come with restrictions. I was happy to be promptly informed that what I had in mind didn't qualify.

  2. The one thing that really surprised me about this AO was something you didn't mention: it actually called out "Propulsion" as one area of potential interest.

    This is a bit startling, since for many years most of the CSA has been adamantly opposed to funding propulsion work.

    It's in the middle of a list of spacecraft subsystems, so I suppose it might have been included accidentally.

    But I hope it was deliberate. It'll be interesting to see what they actually fund.


Support our Patreon Page