In a rare news release from the the Department of National Defence (DND) with respect to Canada’s military activities in space, the DND announced yesterday that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia, the United States and United Kingdom to formalize the Combined Space Operations Initiative.
According to the DND the “initiative enables the sharing of space-related information and resources. This will assist Canada and our allies to more effectively cooperate on activities such as identifying and understanding space objects, ensuring uninterrupted satellite operations, and avoiding satellite collisions.”
Brigadier-General Michel Lalumière, Director General Space said of the agreement “Partnering with our Defence allies on combined space operations makes sense. The information shared will help us in areas of mutual interest, including Space Situational Awareness, planning for space events, and collaborating on space capabilities to maintain the strategic advantage that space provides.”
The agreement will build on existing Canadian Armed Forces projects including:
– Sapphire: Canada’s first dedicated operational military satellite, Sapphire detects manmade objects in orbit, and transmits data to the U.S.-led Space Surveillance Catalogue dedicated to preventing satellite collisions.
– Wideband Global SATCOM: Led by the U. S., this program provides guaranteed, secure access to high-capacity frequencies for government communications. As costs are shared among seven partner nations, this program allows the CAF to economically meet its need for strategic satellite communications.
– Protected Military SATCOM project: This program will provide near-worldwide, secure, survivable, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. Program goals will be achieved through participation in the U.S.-led Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite system.
– Multi-National Experiments: This is a concept development and experimentation project jointly undertaken every two years by the defence and security research communities of 17 countries. In the most recent experimental series, CAF officers led the development of an international concept for risk mitigation in space.
The announcement comes ahead of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held in Toronto next week where Canada’s military will be represented by Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Robert, Director Space Requirements in the Director General Space.
Other public military involvement at the IAC by Canadian personnel include Brent Lewis, Royal Military College, Co-Chair of the Radiation Fields, Effects and Risks in Human Space Missions and the following papers being presented:
– An Open-Access Visible Near-Infrared Spectral Reflectance Library of Spacecraft Materials, Donald Bedard, Royal Military College
– Observation and Analysis of the Apparent Spin Period Variations of Inactive Box-Wing Geosynchronous Resident Space Objects, Michael Earl, Royal Military College
– Investigation of a Micron Ion Thruster for Microsatellites, Alex Christou, Royal Military College