Monday, October 15, 2018

The Federal Space Advisory Board (SAB) Insists that It's Working Hard

          By Henry Stewart

Lucy Stojack, the chair of the Federally mandated Space Advisory Board (SAB), has sent out an e-mail outlining the half dozen events SAB members have attended recently plus listed several additional upcoming events which members expect to participate in this fall.

SAB chair Stojak. Photo c/o HEC.
According to the e-mail:
As the Chair of the Space Advisory Board, I hope this newsletter finds you well rested after the summer and poised for the fall. 
This summer was indeed a busy one! 
The Board provided updated advice to the Minister on Canadian space opportunities and risks in relation to global space trends as a follow on to our (August 2017) report Consultations on Canada’s Future in Space: What We Heard. 
We have also been in regular contact with the Minister’s office (Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains) to provide advice and input as the Government moves forward on the development of a long-term vision for space; we continue to reinforce insights gained from Canadian stakeholders and to underscore the urgent need for Government action. 
Furthermore, we have been busy participating in multiple events across Canada and the US to highlight the benefits of space to Canadians and the importance of the Canadian space sector at home and abroad. 
Since our last update, Members of the Board have participated in the following events:
  • WILSON CENTER EVENT – On September 7, 2018, the Woodrow Wilson Center, based in Washington D.C., hosted a one-day conference on Canada-U.S. space cooperation. The Wilson Center convened a high-level strategic policy dialogue, as U.S. and Canadian officials (NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and CSA President Sylvain Laporte) and representatives from communications, robotics, and aerospace companies addressed civilian and military space, emerging threats, and new technologies. 
Experts also examined how government and industry can work together on principles, norms, and institutions that will ensure responsible human activity in a changing space domain. Space Advisory Board members Mac Evans, Lucy Stojak and Mike Pley participated on panel discussions throughout the conference to provide expertise on Canada’s space history, international space regulations and Canada’s civilian space program.  
  • SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEETING IN OTTAWA WITH US GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS – On September 17, 2018 several members of the Board met with William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations at NASA along with representatives from the State Department, Department of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy to Canada. The discussion was focused around NASA’s future space exploration plans and how to better leverage commercial space. Canada’s opportunities in future space projects/programs were also discussed. 
  • DIGITAL ROUNDTABLES – Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada had digital innovation leaders host roundtable discussions in cities across Canada with business, academia, civil society and others. The Space Advisory Board participated in a number of these roundtables. 
  • LET GO CANADA: SECURING CANADA’S PLACE IN SPACE – On September 17, 2018 a coalition of Canadian space stakeholders representing industry, academia and the space enthusiast community had an event at iPolitics to raise awareness of Canada’s accomplishments in space. The event was focused around the findings of the public opinion research by Ipsos with an expert panel representing different views on the sector. The panel participants included two Board members, Kate Howells and Mike Pley.
  • U.S. EMBASSY OTTAWA AND ACTUA PRESENT A VIDEO CHAT WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION – On Friday, September 21, 2018 the United States Embassy in Ottawa, in partnership with Actua, Canada’s largest science, technology, engineering and math outreach organization, hosted a video chat between local Ottawa elementary school students, stakeholders, and American-Canadian astronaut Drew Feustel at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. Drew is currently aboard the International Space Station and is Commander of its 56th mission. 
Kate Howells participated in a panel discussion on STEM with Drew’s wife, Indira Feustel; the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and Canada’s first astronaut in space. 
  • FIRESIDE CHAT WITH CANADIAN ASTRONAUTS – On Friday, September 21, 2018, at the University of Ottawa, Space Advisory Board Member Mac Evans attended an event of nine Canadian Astronauts participating in a panel discussion on Canada’s role in space exploration. 
Points of discussion included ‘New Space,’ next steps for Canadian space exploration, the changing roles of astronauts, the importance of space, STEM programs, and international collaboration.
The Board will be participating in additional upcoming fall events to continue to engage with the public and to build momentum. These events include the Canadian Global Affairs Institute’s Space Conference (October 16th in Ottawa), the Canadian Science Policy Conference (November 7th - 9th in Ottawa), the AIAC Canadian Aerospace Summit (November 13th - 14th in Ottawa), and the Canadian Space Summit (November 27th - 29th in Ottawa).
In the coming weeks, the Board will also meet with (Navdeep Bains) the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. This meeting will provide an opportunity for the Board members to update the Minister on our continued engagement with the space sector in Canada and abroad, and provide feedback on what we heard. 
This meeting will also provide an opportunity to discuss how best the Space Advisory Board can continue to advise the Minister and inform the government’s work as it develops a long term vision for Canada’s space program. 
Finally, we will remain engaged with the public on Canada’s future in space through our participation in the above mentioned events and welcome input through contact with members of the Board at these events or e-mail to 
Please note that the Space Advisory Board website URL has changed, here is the updated link:
While the specifics of the contributions to each event listed in the e-mail is not always explained, the overall suggestion is that the SAB is at least working hard for the Canadian space industry.

If Stojak and the SAB only including a few discussions about the specific solutions they were advocating and the actual influence the SAB has with the Federal government, then we could start getting really excited.

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

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