Monday, January 02, 2017

The Canadian Space Agency Only Provided $85K CDN in Grants and Contributions Last Quarter!

          By Henry Stewart

As has been noted many times before on this blog, press releases focused around individual Canadian Space Agency (CSA) initiatives and awards are only a partial representation of the funds provided through the CSA to various groups for a variety of reasons.

Canorock is funded for another year. As outlined on the University of Alberta Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology website, "The Canada-Norway Student Sounding Rocket (CaNoRock) exchange program is a partnership between the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Saskatchewan, the University of Oslo and the Andøya Space Center in Norway (plus several other Norwegian universities not listed on the Canadian website). Undergraduate students spend a week on site at the Andøya Space Center, gaining hands-on experience in sounding rocket and payload instrument design." Graphic c/o Andoya Space Center.

To get a true sense of what's really happening at our space agency, a good place to start is the CSA disclosure of grants and contributions awards page, a quarterly compilation of CSA grants and contributions to third parties of over $25,000 CDN.

And the news, at least for the last quarter, is pretty quiet. 

CSA second quarter (Q2) totals for 2016/17 (from July - September 2016) listed only one grant for $85K CDN, which was awarded to the University of Alberta to support the thirteenth Canada/Norway Student Sounding Rocket program (CaNoRock-13), which took place from October 3rd – 7th, 2016 at the Andoya Space Center in Norway.  

The total CSA expenditure in grants and contributions for the quarter was substantially smaller than for the first quarter of 2016/17 which, as outlined in the October 22nd, 2016 post, "The Canadian Space Agency Gave Out Almost $5Mln CDN in Grants and Contributions Last Quarter!," included  fourteen grants to eleven organizations for a variety of research and experiments.

But the total was in line with Q2 CSA grants and contributions from previous years. 

Q2 FY 2015/16 grants include just two grants totaling $296K CDN. Q2 FY 2014/15 totals lists eight grants to the same number of organizations totaling $886K CDN. Q2 FY 2013/14, much like the 2016/17 totals also included only one award of well under $100K CDN. 

The CSA's disclosure of grants and contributions awards for fiscal year 2016 - 2017. Graphic c/o CSA.

But like most large organizations, the lions share of CSA grants and contributions are typically disbursed during the fourth quarter. As outlined in the August 15th, 2016 post, "The Canadian Space Agency Gave Out Almost $30Mln CDN Last Quarter!," the Q4 2015/16 totals included thirty-eight grants to eighteen organizations. 

Q4 2014/15 totals included thirty-five grants to twenty organizations totaling just over $19Mln CDN. Q4 2013/14 totals included twenty grants to thirteen organizations totaling just under $13Mln CDN. 

As outlined in the CSA "2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities," the CSA's estimated total planned spending for FY 2016/17 is just a little over $432Mln CDN.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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