Sunday, September 28, 2014

What the Canadian Space Agency Really, Really Wants

          by Chuck Black

Anyone looking to discover what the people at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) would like to be doing over the next few years might want to forgo some of the marketing and PR events scheduled during the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC2014), being held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th - October 3rd, and head directly to the symposium presentations.

For those of us who'd prefer a little less hard to digest substance in our IAC experience, on September 30th, CSA astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques "will go head to head in a thrilling space race that will bring them to space organizations around Toronto," as part of the CSA contribution to IAC 2014. For more information, check out the September 6th, 2014 CSA press release "Tweetup Activity – The Amazing Canadian Space Race." The CSA will also be hosting a networking breakfast for 11 graduate and post-graduate students on the same day. Photo c/o CSA.

Two dozen are scheduled with a variety of past and present CSA employees on a wide range of topics. A few of the more interesting include:
  • Pierre Jean, who manages the CSA's involvement with the International Space Station (ISS), will be presenting a paper on the "Canada’s Human Presence in Space: Past, Present and Future," as part of the session on government human spaceflight programs. Tim Braithwaite, a CSA liaison office manager for NASA is listed as co-author of the paper, so the presentation will likely to be the best place around to get the real scoop on when CSA astronauts will go back to the ISS.
  • CSA scientist Dr. Wanping Zheng, will be presenting a paper on "KAPVIK – A Canadian Smart Multi-Mission Micro rover for Lunar Exploration," as part of a session on lunar exploration. Oddly enough, representatives from several Canadian rover manufacturers, including Peter Visscher from Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) and Nick Cristello, from the Neptec Design Group are also scheduled to present at this session, which should provide much insight on the future of the Canadian rover program. 
  • Dr. Guy Seguin, who spent the 14 years as a director at the CSA before retiring in 2013, will be presenting a paper on "Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Disaster Management," as part of the session on international cooperation in Earth observation missions. The session will also include a presentation from CSA manager Thomas Piekutowski on the proposed Atmospheric Limb Sounding Satellite (ALiSS), and would seem to be a good place to get some insight into CSA future goals relating to both Earth imaging and the Radarsat program.
IAC presentations are generally made for peer review, academic credit and career building reasons although there are also many disguised pleas for funding and partnerships. 

It will be interesting to see which of the categories will best describe the underlying reasons for the upcoming CSA presentations.

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