Monday, May 27, 2013

Canadian Satellites Designed, Built and Launched for $1Mln Each

A BC news outlet has gone public with a gentle reminder of the surprising affordability of Canadian built satellites.

As outlined in the May 26th, 2013 Vancouver Sun article "Compact Canadian satellites open up a window on space" the first two in a series of six Brite Constellation nano-satellites, launched into Earth orbit on February 25th, 2013 aboard an Indian Space and Research Organization’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), cost only $1Mln CDN each to design, build and launch into space.

As most recently outlined in the February 25th, 2013 post "The Real Winners of the PSLV-20 Rocket Launch," the technology used in the satellites was originally developed under the so-called CANX-3 program at the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) in Toronto, Ontario.

Even better, according to the Brite Constellation website, a key technology element in the program is the nanosatellite Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), which is a joint development between the UTIAS SFL and Sinclair Interplanetary, a small Ontario based engineering firm. Doug Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Interplanetary, was also part of the team receiving the 2010 Alouette Award, presented by the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, at the 15th annual CASI ASTRO conference.

The manufacturing methodologies used in the Brite Constellation originally developed out of the Canadian experience with earlier satellites, such as the Microvariability and Oscillations of STars (MOST) space telescope. 

As outlined in the May 9th, 2010 post titled "the Microsat Way in Canada" this methodology focused on inexpensive, quickly constructed components used frequently to build up a body of expertise by testing to failure (instead of just testing for functionality), because of the usefulness of the real world knowledge gained.

Countries contributing spacecraft to the Brite Constellation include Austria (TUGSAT-1 plus UniBRITE-1) and Poland (BRITE-PL and BRITE-PL2). Canada is also funding and launching the BRITE-CA1 and BRITE-CA2 nano-satellites, which are copies of the Austrian TUGSAT-1 and UniBRITE.

Given the cost cited in the Vancouver Sun article, it is becoming increasing apparent that these approaches are beginning to achieve notable success. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

ESA Space Methodologies Expand into North America

Training at the ESA Concurrent Design Facility at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in
in Noordwijk.

European Space Agency (ESA) methodologies for assessing space missions have crossed the Atlantic and are hunting down North American opportunities, with a little help from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). 

Brussels based RHEA Group, which opened a Montreal based branch office in September 2012, has announced that it will be offering a series of two and five day sessions on concurrent design methodologies to assess potential space missions.

According to a press release on the RHEA Canada website, the sessions will take place from June 24th - 28th in Montreal, utilize trainers from the ADGA Group of companies (one of Canada's largest engineering consulting firms) and be "undertaken with the financial support of the Canadian Space Agency."
Cedric Seynat, the manager of aerospace engineering at RHEA Canada.

The two day sessions will provide a high level overview of the methodologies while the five day course will allow enough time for the completion of an actual case study. 

According to Cedric Seynat, the manager of aerospace engineering at RHEA Canada, the concurrent design methodology "is designed to manage and combine multiple high level requirements into a series of multidisciplinary design sessions where experts exchange information in a structured and integrated way in order to come to useful conclusions."

Seynat sees a market for these services, initially with Canadian organizations like the CSA and satellite manufacturers, but also eventually with US satellite builders, once a certain critical mass of knowledgeable North American users is available.

The concurrent design approach is currently used by the ESA to assess between 10 -15 satellite designs per year and is also utilized by a number of commercial firms, including Astrium, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), major European universities and other organizations for a variety of projects.

The methodologies were originally developed at the Concurrent Design Facility, the ESA main assessment center for future space missions and industrial review.

For more information on the courses, or to register, please check out the RHEA Systems Canada website. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The New World of Space Based Quantum Cryptography

          by Brian Orlotti

Space-based quantum cryptography may sound like an ultra-futuristic technology ripped straight from the world of Star Trek, but it is on the verge of becoming a reality…and Canadians may be the first to achieve it.

Ian D’Souza, a mission scientist at Cambridge based Com Dev International, envisions a constellation of microsatellites orbiting Earth that will spark a telecommunications revolution. Satellites capable of performing quantum cryptography, a theoretically unhackable form of communication, don’t yet exist outside of research labs. However, researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), in Waterloo, Ont. are working hard to engineer the technology, and may have a prototype by year’s end.

Well aware of today’s fiscally lean environment, Com Dev has decided to package the system in an inexpensive microsatellite, sending it into orbit as a secondary payload. Adopting a microsat approach has several advantages. If the prototype is successful, Com Dev could refine the design and launch more into orbit quickly. Should the microsat fail however, the company’s financial losses would be minimal. In addition, the microsat approach would allow Com Dev to use commercially available, off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies more advanced than those developed specifically for space use.

It makes more sense to launch a low-cost satellite to prove the concept than to launch a very expensive satellite whose hardware works flawlessly—only to find out that the atmosphere does not allow quantum key distribution to work,” D’Souza said in the May 6th, 2013 IEEE Spectrum article "Commercial Quantum Cryptography Satellites Coming."
Graphic c/o How Stuff Works.

In conventional cryptography, algorithms are used to generate the large numbers that are then used to create the encryption keys. In quantum cryptography, photons are used to create the encryption key. Each type of a photon's spin (polarization) represents one piece of information -- usually a 1 or a 0, as in binary code. In this way, a binary code can be assigned to each photon -- for example, a photon that has a vertical spin can be assigned a 1. The sender then uses randomly chosen filters and records the polarization of each photon. They will then know what photon polarizations the other party should receive.

Quantum cryptography’s greatest strength is that, as per Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, photons cannot be measured (i.e. intercepted by a third party) without changing their polarization and altering the message. Eavesdroppers can’t listen in because their presence would be instantly detected.

For all its promise, quantum cryptography also suffers from serious flaws, the two main ones being short transmission distances and susceptibility to interference.

Quantum cryptography works well over terrestrial optical fiber, but an experimental quantum network in Austria has shown that photons fade out after about 200 km. The signals should travel much farther through empty space, but air near the ground is turbulent, and researchers have so far been able to do quantum communications only over a distance of about 140 km.
Graphic c/o How Stuff Works.

Quantum cryptography satellites will need to be able to detect a single photon sent from Earth against a
background filled with photons. The photon must be aimed precisely, then travel through the turbulent and polluted lower levels of Earth’s atmosphere. And not only must the satellite detect the photon, it must also measure its polarization. Measuring the photon’s polarization will be a technically challenging task for a quantum cryptography satellite. The sender and satellite might both know that a vertical polarization means 0 and a horizontal polarization means 1. However, if the satellite is moving and spinning relative to the Earth, how can it know the right frame of reference with which to measure the polarization? The researchers at the IQC believe they have the solution to this problem. Using guide signals from the satellite, the sender would shift its wave plates (equipment that controls the photons’ polarization) to compensate for the satellite’s shifting orientation.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has shown enthusiasm for the idea, and has funded part of the research stage of the project. However, no funding has been allocated to the microsat portion of the project, and the CSA has not received approval from the federal government to proceed with the mission. D’Souza is hopeful that the CSA can remain involved.

Should that fall through however, Com Dev, IQC, and their partners need not be at the mercy of the Canadian government. In 2008, Com Dev successfully launched a global ship-tracking firm, exactEarth LLP, using a single low-cost nanosatellite called NTS. This nanosat, designed to last only four months, is still functioning well. A private quantum satcom network could prove far more lucrative.

China, the EU and Japan are also working on quantum crypto satellites, with China stating that it plans to place one in orbit by 2016. D’Souza says that it will likely take Canada three years to develop and launch a prototype of its own…neck and neck with China.

Beating other nations to the finish line with the launching of a quantum crypto microsat would in itself be a great coup for Canada’s space sector, fundamentally changing the way banks, governments, and corporations communicate. But there is a more fundamental reason to pursue this path. Canadians have always been leaders in communications technology. Satellites, microwave towers, and fiber optics are the threads that weave us together across our vast nation. To pioneer the new quantum realm would be the Canadian thing to do.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And Now: Back to our Regular Scheduled Space Programming...

The May 14th, 2013 political cartoon from the Halifax Chronicle Herald

The May 14th, Halifax Chronicle Herald editorial, "Hadfield a bright star in a tired galaxy" seems to have said it best when it stated that "as Canada’s celebrity astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth on Monday night, it was to a fascinated public and some real challenges back at head office."

It then followed up the article with an amusing political cartoon focused on Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and science funding cutbacks.

Of course, the Chronicle Herald wasn't unique in it's assessment and it's worth noting that others went further.

For example, the May 13th, 2013 Telegraph article "Commander Hadfield: a real-life space oddity," went so far as to suggest that perhaps the primary mission of the International Space Station (ISS) crew:
...shouldn’t be one of scientific discovery, but of inspiration. For decades, mankind’s push for space was military-led, secretive. The idea of the commander of a mission sending back videos of himself wringing out a wet cloth to show how water behaves in zero gravity, or explaining why you need to be careful making a sandwich in space (crumbs, you see), would have been unthinkable.

But now space exploration is opening up. The ISS itself is a multinational operation, and dozens of countries have advanced space programmes. More excitingly, commercial enterprises are joining in: last year, the module Space X Dragon became the first privately owned spacecraft to dock with the ISS. More than a stern-faced officer-scientist or boy’s-own-adventure hero, what space exploration needs now is an advocate: someone who can remind us why we wanted to go to the universe on our doorstep in the first place.
In essence, Hadfield has performed admirably in the role of reminding us why we should explore the universe in the first place.

But it's also good that Hadfield understands that this is a separate and entirely different role from the more general role of space science advocacy, the slightly more specific role of advocating increased government funding of Canadian science and the very specific role of advocating increased funding for the CSA.

Congratulations, Colonel Chris. Now comes the really hard part

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bigelow Aerospace: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

          by Brian Orlotti
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Bigelow Aerospace Founder Robert Bigelow standing next to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) during a media briefing on Jan 16th, 2013. Photo c/o NASA/Bill Ingalls.

On Dec 20th 2012, NASA announced it had awarded Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace a $17.8 million USD contract to build an inflatable module for testing on the International Space Station (ISS). Although NASA has curiously kept the deal low-key over the past several months, Bigelow’s founder has been more open.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is being developed by Bigelow Aerospace for use on the ISS from 2015 to 2017. In 2015, BEAM will be delivered to the ISS in an unpressurized SpaceX Dragon spacecraft during the 8th scheduled SpaceX resupply mission (CRS-8). The ISS crew will use the Canadarm2 to attach BEAM to the station’s Tranquility module, after which they’ll activate a pressurization system to expand the structure to its full size using onboard air tanks. Roughly cylindrical in shape, the BEAM module is small at 4 m (13 ft) in length and 3.2 m (10.5 ft.) in diameter.

The module’s walls consist of several layers. The outermost layer is made up of sheets of aluminum foil separated from each another by small gaps. This separation serves two purposes; it lets the outer layer act as extremely efficient and lightweight thermal insulation, and also serves as a shield against small micrometeoroids by using the trapped heat to vaporize them.
Vectran is used in a wide range of applications in aerospace, high tech research, industrial protection, marine and medicine.

Next are several layers of more substantial shielding. These consist of a thin metal sheet positioned over and separated from a thicker sheet. They also provide thermal insulation, but can protect the interior of the BEAM module from larger micrometeoroids.

The inner walls are comprised of several sheets of Vectran, a polymer fabric with twice the strength of Kevlar. These layers can protect against both external and internal punctures, being strong enough to survive, for instance, pieces of equipment accidentally hurled against the inner walls. Despite their great strength, the inner walls weigh only about 25 kg per square metre, as compared to about 110 kg per square metre for a similarly-sized ISS module of traditional construction.

Bigelow Aerospace’s testing indicates that BEAM will be at least as resistant to both radiation and micrometeoroids as the rest of the ISS. A key advantage of using inflatable fabric modules rather than metal ones for deep-space applications is that high-energy cosmic rays simply pass through without forming secondary x-rays.

During its two-year mission, BEAM’s structural integrity, leak rate, radiation levels and temperature will be monitored remotely. How astronauts will use BEAM is still being discussed, but NASA has suggested that the ISS crew would only enter the module several times a year to collect data with the hatch otherwise staying shut. At the mission’s end, BEAM will be detached from the ISS and sent to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
A cut away view of a TransHab concept. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

Bigelow’s expandable technology traces its origins back to NASA’s Transit Habitation (TransHab) project of the 1990’s. Born in the ambitious days of the long-dead Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), Transhab was intended to be both an improvement on the existing ISS crew habitation modules as well as a tool for the then-projected expeditions to Mars. One of the anticipated problems on these expeditions would be sending astronauts out with enough supplies and living space to sustain them on a round trip that could take years. TransHab’s soft-walled, inflatable modules were designed to be used as crew accommodation during the flight, and then deployed on the surface of Mars as a base. 

But by the late 1990’s, in the wake of the political wreckage of the SEI, Transhab came under increasing scrutiny. The end finally came in 2000 when NASA, under fire from the US Congress for the latest round of ISS cost overruns, was forced by law to cancel the innovative project. In 2002, Robert Bigelow, having a keen interest in inflatable systems, signed a licencing agreement with NASA to further develop the technology. Under the terms of this agreement, Bigelow was able to bring many members of the original TransHab team over to Las Vegas to begin work at his newly formed firm, Bigelow Aerospace.

Bigelow Aerospace’s breakout moment came in 2006 and 2007 with its launch of two small inflatable modules called Genesis One and Two into orbit. These units, launched from Russia on repurposed SS-18 “Dnepr” ICBMs, continue to orbit Earth and have served the company well as both proofs-of-concept and public relations tools.
Genesis 1. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

A Canadian connection can be found as well; Thin Red Line Aerospace of Chilliwack, BC is a sub-contractor to Bigelow Aerospace. Thin Red Line designed and built the inner layers of Genesis One and Two, drawing on its extensive experience with ultra-strong materials like Kevlar and Vectran.

Beyond its collaborations with NASA, Bigelow Aerospace has greater ambitions. The company is currently building two much larger inflatable modules (with 11,600 cubic feet of space apiece) that will combine to form the world’s first private space station, dubbed ‘Alpha’. Station Alpha, with a planned launch in 2016, will be large enough to house a dozen people, twice as many as the ISS. Also, Alpha’s inflatable modules would be spacious enough to allow up to three people to spacewalk simultaneously compared to the ISS’ maximum of two. Contingent on Alpha’s success, Bigelow Aerospace intends to build additional stations to meet demand, and has already begun design work on a massive module with 74,000 cubic feet of space.

Robert Bigelow has stated that his ultimate goal is to use his inflatable modules as the core of a Moon spacecraft and base, and later on a Mars spacecraft and base…the original objectives of the NASA Transhab project. Should this be achieved, Transhab will have come full circle.

Robert Bigelow’s business plan is to lease space on Alpha to nations seeking to setup low-cost space programs and corporations that wish to conduct zero-gravity research. Space tourist visits are also being considered.

At a press conference in January, Robert Bigelow announced prices for travelers to station Alpha: 26.25 million $USD for a 60-day stay, including the trip to orbit in a SpaceX Dragon capsule on a Falcon 9 rocket. Travellers will also have the option of using the currently-in-development Boeing CST-100 capsule for roughly $10 million more.

In many ways, the evolution of TransHab technology has also served as the template for the NewSpace industry of today. A game-changing technology initially developed under government auspices, then passed on to the private sector to be refined and monetized, in turn driving new industries forward.

Transhab’s journey has been a long and near-fatal one. Though a good idea, its success was anything but assured. Inflatable habitats were a technology preserved and refined by people who foresaw a time when they would be needed. This time is now upon us. In the words of Victor Hugo, ‘No army can withstand the power of an idea whose time has come’.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Space Miners Meet in Toronto, Again!

Chris Lewicki at the CIM2013 Plenary on "Global Leadership: The Courage to Change." A video of the session is available online here.
The small but slowly growing international community of asteroid and planetary miners touched down in Toronto for the second time in three months as part of the 4th Annual Joint Conference of the Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium (PTMSS) and the Space Resources Roundtable (SRR), which was held in conjunction with the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) Annual Conference (CIM2013) in Toronto, ON from May 5th - 8th.

Chris Lewicki, the president and chief engineer of Planetary Resources (which is generally perceived of as being the best funded corporation in this category), even participated in the May 6th CIM2013 plenary session on "Global Leadership: the Courage to Change."

Canada"has been the centre of all these activities" stated Lewicki, referring to both mining and space in his comments during the plenary session. He also indicated that he will likely return again to Canada in the future.

The plenary session was hosted by Fifth Estate host Marc Kelley and included Stan Bharti (the Executive Chairman of Forbes & Manhattan, Inc.), Egizio Bianchini (the Vice-chair, global co-head, metals & mining at BMO Capital Markets), Richard A. Ross (the executive in residence & program director of the MBA Global Mining Management program at the Schulich School of Business), and Zoë Yujnovich (the President and CEO of the Iron Ore Company of Canada).

The Artemus Jr. lunar rover, built by a consortium of Canadian (and at least one US) companies, led by Neptec Design Group and funded through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), on display at CIM2013
Others in attendance and contributing to the conference included Bob Richards, the Canadian born space serial entrepreneur and CEO of Silicon Valley based Moon Express, Jim Keravala, the chief operating officer and co-founder of Shackleton EnergyDavid Gump, the CEO of Deep Space Industries, Dale Boucher, the director of product design, prototyping and testing at the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) and quite a few others.

Many of the conference attendees had also attended the 2013 Prospectors and Developers Association (PDAC) Annual Conference, which was held in Toronto from March 3rd - 6th.

According to Dr. Angel Abbud-Madrid, the Director of the Center for Space Resources (CSR), a research partnership center based at the Colorado School of Mines, and current President of the SRR,  "the genie is out of the bottle (with respect to space resource utilization) and the challenge now is to make it part of the overall conversation taking place in the mining industry."

The themes of the combined PTMSS/ SRR meeting focused on resource extraction, utilization and commercialization activities, which explained the preponderance of potential space miners.

Expect Canada to continue to take an important, but mostly nonpublic role as this new industry opens up.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

MDA Releases Financial Results

          by Brian Orlotti

Accounting isn't often included within the traditional conception of "rocket science," but an accurate accounting of fiscal activities is important for every business, even BC based MacDonald, Dettwiler (MDA), which last week released its financial results for the fiscal quarter ending March 31st.

The report was included as part of the May 2nd, 2013 Canadian News Wire (CNW) press release "MDA reports first quarter 2013 results."

As outlined in the report, earnings this quarter were $41.8Mln CDN ($1.30 per share) on revenues of $428.6Mln CDN. For comparison, earnings for the first quarter of 2012 were $28.9Mln CDN ($0.91 per share) with revenues of $172Mln CDN. The results for this past quarter include three months of activity from Space Systems/Loral (SSL), which MDA acquired on November 2, 2012.

Order bookings were strong, with a record order backlog of $3.0Bln CDN as of March 31, 2013, as compared to $2.2Bln CDN in December 31, 2012.

Notable MDA milestones this past quarter included:
  • A contract with a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation to build Jupiter 2/EchoStar XIX, a Ka-band satellite that will help meet the growing demand for high-speed satellite Internet service in North America.
  • A $2.6 million contract from NASA's Johnson Space Center to extend its support of the Robotic Work Station on the ISS.
  • A $15.8 million contract from the CSA for the preliminary design of an advanced instrument for
    NASA's New Frontiers Program-OSIRIS-REx, a spacecraft that will travel to the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, study it in detail, and bring back a sample of at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) to Earth. Total contract value for initial phases received to date is $19Mln CDN.
MDA’s statement went on to say that earnings for the first quarter of 2013 had been impacted by “certain large, non-operational expenses.” As a result, net earnings this past quarter were $2.2Mln CDN ($0.07 per share) compared to $33.2Mln CDN ($1.04 per share) for the first quarter of 2012.

There is a possibility that these "large non-operational" expenses are related to negotiations with Ontario based Magellan Aerospace over the buss component of RCM, which has led to a slight delay in the revenue ramp on the project. As outlined in the May 27th, 2009 Canadian News Wire (CNW) press release "Magellan Aerospace awarded contract for RADARSAT Constellation Mission bus development," the firm was originally awarded a "phase-B" development contract in 2009, but has received no formal work since.

On March 27, 2013, the company closed its public offering of 4,145,750 common shares at a price of $69.40 per share for gross proceeds of $287.7Mln CDN. These proceeds have been used to reduce debt in preparation for future growth initiatives.

Overall, it might not be rocket science, but it is a useful report on the fiscal health of one of Canada's most iconic space companies.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Summer Reading for Space Geeks

Here is the latest annual spring listing of articles, websites and publications which provide a bit of context to the current space debates happening here and elsewhere:
  • Aerospace Projects Review - The classic "journal of unbuilt aircraft and spacecraft projects" including detailed schematics for aircraft and spacecraft designs such as Saturn V S-IC derived flyback boosters, the Helios nuclear-pulse propulsion program, the incredible Project Orion interplanetary battleship, various predecessor of the X-20 Dyna Soar, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station (ISS) and many others.
      • Becoming Spacefarers: Rescuing America's Space Program - All you ever wanted to know about the US space program including political intrigue, historical analogies, and ideas that challenge conventional wisdom, written with the intent to add constructively to the debate on what we should be doing next in space exploration and development. Written by James A. Vedda, a senior policy analyst and government contractor in the Washington, D.C. area.
      • Canadian Space Directory – The Canadian Space Agency’s listing of private and public organizations engaging in space related activities in Canada. 
      • The Chapman Report – Canada is today an international leader in the fields of communications and remote sensing because of John Chapman (1921-1979) who was senior author of a report entitled “Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada.” The document, written in 1967 and now known simply as the “Chapman Report,” recommended using Canadian satellite and space technology for commercial activities such as communications and resource management instead of focusing only on scientific research. Over time, the report became “Canada’s Original Blueprint” for space activities.
      • Presentations from the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group - These are archived and peer reviewed studies (some with audio visual and power-points) for a variety of NASA approved concepts related to future in-space operations and activities.This site includes Dan King's presentation on the MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) on-orbit satellite servicing proposal (under the title, Space Servicing: The Future is Now) and a variety of presentations on asteroid mining techniques and tools. The site provide a fascinating overview of what could be accomplished today with the proper budget.
      • How NASA Builds Teams - By Charles J. Pellerin and focused on "mission critical soft skills for scientists, engineers, and project teams." This book outlines team building techniques used to improve communication, performance, and morale among NASA’s technical teams using only a fraction of the time and resources of traditional training methods.
      • The Online Journal of Space Communication - Since 2001, this scholarly publication has bridged the world of the professional and the world of the academic to advance the purposes of satellite and space development. The publication invites submissions that documents and examines a broad range of issues and events in space and satellite communication, including their historical, technological, economic, policy, cultural and social dimensions. 
      • Orbital Hub - Canadian based blog "where space exploration, science and engineering meet" with a heavy focus on robotics and micro-sats.
        • Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier - by Neil deGrasse Tyson. With his signature wit and thought-provoking insights, Neil deGrasse Tyson—one of our foremost thinkers on all things space—illuminates the past, present, and future of space exploration and brilliantly reminds us why NASA matters now as much as ever.
        • Thirteen power point presentations on Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law - From various public conferences held at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and including presentations from top lawyers, international experts, FAA representatives and lobbyists.
        • Space Mission Analysis and Design - By James R Wertz and Wiley Larson and known as SMAD. A textbook quality publication for engineering and space activities providing what you need to speak the language of space. 
        • SpaceRef Canada – Space news, as it happens from SpaceRef Interactive Chief Architect and CSCA Director Marc Boucher. Part of the larger SpaceRef Interactive Group which includes SpaceRef USA and NASA Watch.  
        • The Space Report – The “authoritative guide to international space activities” published by the Space Foundation, one of the world’s premier nonprofit organizations supporting space activities, space professionals and education. The Space Foundation Introduction to Space Activities is also worth taking a look at. 
        • Universe Today -  A well respected, BC based, for profit website focused on worldwide space science and astronomy activities. Also organizes the weekly "Carnival of Space" showcasing blog articles focusing on space topics.

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