1994 – The 1st Canadian Space Agency Plan: What’s in Canada’s Long Term Space Plans? Part 4

Part of the cover from the 1994 Long Term Space Plan. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

In today’s article, the fourth in this weeks series on What’s in Canada’s Long Term Space Plans, I’ll present the 1994 plan, the first created by the Canadian Space Agency.

The 1994 Long Term Space Plan (LTSP2) titled The Canadian Space Program – A New Horizon, is the first plan to use the phrase, space at a turning point, though it wouldn’t be the last time we hear those words.

The introduction read in part;

At the time of the February 1994 Budget, the CSP (Canadian Space Plan) was at a turning point. Federal funding was expected to decrease rapidly over the next two to three years, due to the completion of major projects such as MSAT and RADARSAT. Moreover, it was recognized that, as a result of the substantial cost increases that have occurred in the International Space Station, important decisions had to be made regarding Canada’s continued participation in this program.

The February 1994 Budget stated that the Government was committed to establishing a new Long Term Space Plan that would be affordable and yield the most benefits for Canada. The Budget provided $800M in incremental funding over and above the $1. 7B currently approved funding for the next ten years to establish a Space Plan that would focus on Canadian needs and areas where Canada has developed competitive international advantages such as Earth observation and Satellite Communications. As part of the Budget, the Government announced also that Canada would undertake an orderly reduction in our current commitments to the International Space Station Program. Later, an additional $200M was made available to allow Canada to maintain its participation in the Program and protect the $700M investment made in Space Station to date.

This wasn’t the first or last time people within government would try to scale back or even cancel Canada’s participation in the Space Station. Each time though, it would fail. The plan would earmark $2.7 billion over 10 years.

LTSP2 1994/95 - 2003/04 funding chart
LTSP2 1994/95 – 2003/04 funding chart. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

Major orientations and objectives

The plan would list the major orientations and objectives as follows;

  • The initiatives for the new Space Plan have been selected from the more than four billion dollars worth of proposals received after extensive consultations with all stakeholders across Canada in the CSP. Its formulation has been guided by the following principles :
  • focus on Canada’s commercial and technological strengths to meet our ongoing needs in the areas of Earth observation and communications;
  • contribute to economic growth and employment;
  • contribute to increasing Canadian industrial competitiveness and export capabilities;
  • contribute to the advancement of knowledge;
  • maximize leverage through private sector partnership and financing;
  • contribute to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Government operations;
  • balance the distribution of funds among space sectors, as well as between short-term and long-term initiatives;
  • and ensure flexible formulation of program content and the allocation of funds.

LTSP2 would be the first plan to specifically discuss a new Strategic Space Technology Development Program with $26M in funding. A variation of that program still exists today and which is very useful for kickstarting new technology ideas.

It would be described as follows;

The new Space Plan allocates $26M for a Strategic Space Technology Development Program. This program, designed to develop emerging space technologies, includes three components: the Industry Partnerships Program, to share technological development costs with industry; the International Cooperation Program, to allow Canadian industry participation in cooperative ventures with foreign partners; and the Technology Diffusion Program, to support the development of applications of space technologies in non-space sectors . It is expected that industry contributions will complement the federal funding.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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