Canadian Space Agency releases smartEarth downstream satellite data opportunity

smartEarth program. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has released its first announcement of opportunity (AO) of the year, this one related to its smartEarth program for the creation of applications to harness satellite data.

$8 million smartEarth opportunity

The AO is titled Canadian Downstream Space Sector Delivering on Canada’s Better Future and has a $8 million in funding with selected projects receiving between $150k – $500k.

The CSA says it will select 20-30 projects “depending on the applications.” Projects have until March 5, 2021 to submit their applications with an estimated project start date of this October. The projects are expected to be completed within 24-36 months from their start.

The AO is part of the CSA’s smartEarth Enabler Track and is fits in with the Grant and Contribution Class, meaning the funds are non-repayable contributions.

According to the CSA “The goal of the Enabler track is to enhance the capacities and expertise of Canada’s for-profit organizations, not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions in the use and application of satellite data. It also aims to foster competitiveness and growth.”

AO objective

The stated objective of the AO “is to better position the downstream industry in the area of space-based products and services development to meet today’s SBEO (Space-based Earth Observation) challenges, support sustainability (economy, society, environment) and address emerging market niches through innovations benefiting from the growing proliferation of satellite data sources.”

smartEarth Application Readiness Level (ARL) Scale for satellite data applications
smartEarth Application Readiness Level (ARL) Scale satellite data applications. Credit: CSA.

Three downstream project streams

For this particular AO the CSA organized the track into three project streams:

Stream 1: Applications R&D – Advanced Applications (addressing ARLs 5 to 7)

  • The R&D projects within this component are those with the potential for expected socio-economic benefits in the short or medium term between 2 to 5 years upon completion of the research.
    • Non-repayable contribution up to a maximum of $400K/project, amounting to a maximum of 75% government contribution to the total project budget;
    • Maximum project duration: 36 months;

Stream 2: Applications R&D – Demonstration and Validation Concepts (addressing ARLs 3-5)

  • The R&D projects within this component are those with the potential for expected socio-economic benefits in the medium term between 5 to 7 years upon completion of the research.
    • Non-repayable contribution up to a maximum of $500K/project, amounting to a maximum of 75% government contribution to the total project budget;
    • Maximum project duration: 36 months;

Stream 3: Applications R&D – Early Stage Concepts (addressing ARLs 1 to 3)

  • The R&D projects within this component are those with the potential for expected socio-economic benefits in the long term between of 7+ years upon completion of the research.
    • Non-repayable contribution up to a maximum of $150K/project, amounting to a maximum of 75% government contribution to the total project budget;
    • Maximum project duration: 24 months;

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 Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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