Monday, June 01, 2015

Goodyear Announces $13.1Mln in New Funding; Moore to Announce More Canadians in Space

          By Henry Stewart

Two back to back announcements from Federal government ministers, the first one made on May 29th with a second one expected on June 2nd, seem to indicate that the Harper government is putting some real time and effort into clearing up any lingering doubts over its ability to support Canadian space activities.

CSA astronauts David Saint-Jacques (left) and Jeremy Hansen take part in an event at CSA HQ in July 2011. Both will go into space over the next decade. Photo c/o CSA.

The first was the May 29th announcement by Gary Goodyear, the Federal minister of state responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), that 21 Canadian companies will receive close to $13.1Mln CDN in total funding to research and develop 38 innovative technologies over the next two years.

But Goodyear's announcement is likely to be overshadowed by the expected Tuesday announcement from Industry Minister James Moore that Canadian astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques have finally been allocated flights to the International Space Station (ISS). Hansen will head into space no later than 2019 with Saint-Jacques to follow by 2024.

Minister Moore. Photo c/o CP/ Patrick Doyle.
As outlined in the June 1st, 2015 Global News article, "More Canadian astronauts heading to space," the spots for the Canadian astronauts "are opening up because Canada has agreed to make a new financial contribution to the International Space Station, the details of which are expected to be announced tomorrow."

An official announcement, hopefully clear of supposition and rumour, is expected on June 2nd.

As outlined in the June 1st, 2015 media advisory, "Canada's Future in Space," Minister Moore, astronauts Hansen and Saint-Jacques and retired astronaut Chris Hadfield will be on hand at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 2nd, for "an important announcement about Canada's commitment to space exploration."
EDITORS NOTE: As per the June 2nd, 2015 Canadian Space Agency (CSA) press release, "Canada to send two astronauts to space within the next decade," which was released as the press conference began, the public event confirmed that both Saint-Jacques and Hansen would be visiting the ISS sometime within the next ten years. 
The press release also indicated that the CSA will provide $10.5Mln CDN to Macdonald Dettwiler (MDA) in order to pay for ongoing technical support for the mobile servicing system, a Canadian made manipulator system on board the ISS. System components include the Canadarm2, (more formally known as the Space Station Remote Manipulator System), the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System (MBS) and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (DEXTRE).
Overview of May 29th, Goodyear announcement. Graphic c/o CSA.
As well, Canada will extend its collaboration with NASA to participate in the Mars Science Laboratory mission by two years and Canadian universities will perform four new Canadian science experiments aboard the ISS in the fall.
Given the glitz and glamour surrounding astronaut and exploration activities, it's hard to believe that Goodyear's announcement of modest new funding might end up being just as important to Canada over the long-term.

But it might.

As outlined in the May 29th, 2015 CSA press release, "Supporting Canadian Research and Innovation in Space Technology," the awards were intended to leverage "scientific and high-tech expertise while supporting jobs and growth."

Which is a nice way of saying that the CSA is looking to finally show it can come into compliance with Industry Canada priorities and road maps relating to innovation and commercialization of Canadian technologies developed through space agency activities.

The funds, part of the Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) Space Technology Development Program (STDP), were officially pitched as necessary in order to contribute to the future needs of the Canadian space program and international missions.

Minister Goodyear. Photo c/o Wikipedia.
A complete listing of the Canadian firms selected to receive a contribution agreement under the current round of funding is available online as part of the May 29th, government of Canada backgrounder on the program. It's also worth noting that each company is also required to contribute a minimum of 25% of the total value of its project.

But the Federal government isn't quite done yet.

As outlined on the Federal government Buy and Sell procurement website under the title, "Technologies Development for potential Space Missions (9F063-140909/A)," another program announcement was made on May 26th, 2015 to fund up to 11 other priority technologies with a value of approximately $5Mln CDN in total.

If you're interested in applying, you have until July 22nd.

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