Friday, June 19, 2015

Canadian Space Advocates, Activists and Groups

          By Chuck Black

There are a lot of space advocates in Canada.

Some of them are wrapped around academic institutions. Others are wrapped around ideas such as "open source" or "working in space" and a few are even wrapped around activities like launching rockets or space tourism.

Below is a representative sampling of some of the more interesting.

The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society (ASX) - A non-profit organization run out of the University of Toronto with a mandate to educate, excite, and inspire students, professionals, and the general public about astronomy and space. Best known for its annual January astronomy symposium.

The AstroNuts Kids Space Club - A space focused educational group for elementary school students created in May 2010 by the father/ son team of Ray and Brett Bielecki. The various "missions" of spaceship "Mercury One" and its successor "Mercury Two" have been profiled on CBC, CTV, CITY-TV, A-Channel, the Daily Planet (for the Discovery Channel) and Rogers TV.

The Calgary Space Workers Society - Local advocacy group focused on how "to live and work in space." The group hosted the 2007 "Canadian Space Summit."

The Canadian Association of Rocketry listing of affiliated organizations - Who says that Canadians don't build rockets? Certainly not these self-supporting, non-profit organizations whose sole purpose is to promote the development of amateur rocketry as a recognized sport and worthwhile activity.

The Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) - A nonprofit technical organization for aeronautics, space and remote sensing. Host for a variety of annual events including the recently concluded 65th International Astronautics Congress (IAC), which was held in Toronto from September 29th - October 3rd, 2014 and the 2015 CASI AERO Conference, which was held from May 19th - 21st, 2015 in Montreal, PQ.

The Canadian Association of Science Centres - An organization promoting and encouraging public involvement with Canadian public science centres and the organizations needed to support them.

The Canadian Astronomical Society – Founded in 1971 and incorporated in 1983 as a society of professional astronomers devoted to the promotion and advancement of knowledge of the universe through research and education. Membership is open to persons with a professional involvement with these goals in astronomy and the related sciences.

The Canadian Foundation for the International Space University (CFISU) – The charitable organization promoting the International Space University (ISU) in Canada.
The Canadian Remote Sensing Society (CRSS-SCT) - Focused on the Canadian activities relating to geomatics (the discipline of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering geographic information, or spatially referenced information), this scientific association organizes conferences and helps publish the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing (CJRS).

The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge - A privately funded, biannual event focused on teams of Canadian university students (undergraduate and graduate) who design and build an operational small-satellite, based on commercially-available, "off-the-shelf" components. The current challenge, with eight participating teams, began in September 2014.

The Canadian Science Policy Centre - Passionate professionals from industry, academia and government who organize the yearly Canadian Science Policy Conference.

The Canadian Space Society (CSS) – A non-profit corporation promoting Canadian space activities. Organizes the annual Canadian Space Summit, which will be held this year from November 19th - 20th, in Vancouver, BC, along with a variety of other local, regional and national events.

The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy - Not Canadian, but this Virginia based think tank does focus on the legal and policy issues associated with geo-spatial data and technology, which is of some use to the Canadians who are ranked as leaders within this growing field.

Engineers Canada - The national organization of the 13 provincial and territorial associations that regulate the profession of engineering in Canada and license the country's more than 260,000 members of the engineering profession. The organization issues national position statements on key issues relating to the public interest, including infrastructure, labour mobility and regulating the profession.

Friends of NASA - An independent non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to building international support for peaceful space exploration, commerce, scientific discovery and STEM education organized by Montreal, PQ based Dwayne Lawrence in 2008. The organization claims over 10,000 professional members worldwide from over 50 countries plus 180,000+ public followers on social media: Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

The Geological Association of Canada - A national geo-science society, publisher and distributor of geo-science books and journals. Also holds a variety of conferences, meetings and exhibitions for the discussion of geological problems and the exchange of views in matters related to geology. Geologists often use Earth imaging and geo-spatial satellite technology derived from our space program to inventory natural resources.

Hacklab.TO - One of a number of small Canadian organizations like the Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, the Kwartzlab Makerspace, the Makerkids non-profit workshop space for kids, Think|Haus, the Site 3 coLaboratory, UnLab and others who focus on the technologies associated with open source additive manufacturing/ 3-D printing. These techniques show great promise for a variety of low cost space manufacturing technologies.

The Mars Society Canada - Although this semi-active Canadian subsidiary of the US based Mars Society advocacy group has a past history of strong activism and support for research projects like the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, the current website is down. The one remaining active Canadian chapter of the society is in Winnipeg, MB.

The North York Astronomy Association (NYAA) - This Ontario based club is the organizer of the annual StarFest star party, recognized as one of the world's top 10 gatherings of amateur astronomers for the purpose of observing the sky.

The OpenLuna Foundation - A privately funded public outreach program (officially a US based 501(c) 3) to encourage the use of open-source tools and methodologies (open design) for space focused activities. The founding member and project manager/ director of the organization is Paul Graham, who lives in London, Ontario.

The Planetary Society Canada - A subgroup of the larger US based Planetary Society. a non-government, nonprofit organization involved in research and engineering projects related to astronomy, planetary science, exploration, public outreach, and political advocacy founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman. The current CEO is Bill Nye.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - 4,000 members, including about 500 "unattached" members from remote parts of Canada and around the world and strong chapters in Vancouver and 28 other centres across the country.

Science Rendezvous - Grassroots not-for-profit organization and public platform to promote science awareness and increase science literacy in Canada. Holds the yearly spring Science Rendezvous at the University of Toronto, St. George campus.

Space Canada – A not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of solar energy from space. Organized the 2009 Symposium on Solar Energy from Space. Space Canada president and CEO George Dietrich has a long history of supporting US and Canadian NewSpace activities.

The Space Society of London (SSoL) - Aims to unite members of the University of Western Ontario who have a common interest in space.

The Space Tourism Society Canadian Chapter - A Canadian chapter of the US based Space Tourism Society (STS) which intends to promote space tourism and the acquisition of "financial, political and public support to make space tourism available to the general population in the near future."

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Canadian chapter - Part of an international group of student-run organizations dedicated to promoting public interest in space. Countries with active SEDS groups include the US, the UK and India.

The Toronto International Space Apps Challenge - An annual "hackathon" organized each spring as part of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

The Toronto Students for the Advancement of Aerospace (TSAA) - A relatively new group focused on building an annual conference series focused around promoting aerospace. Planning an "aerospace hackathon" for 2015.

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