Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates [Live Updates]

This page is updated with new stories and event updates as needed as related to the Coronavirus COVID-19. Reader input requested: Send relevant updates to

June 10 at 11:40 AM ET

Space Apps COVID-19 Hackathon Brings 15,000 Together Worldwide, NASA

“Poetry. Mobile apps to promote mental health. Rooftop gardening solutions. Drone delivery for food. These are just some of the projects participants dreamed up in the NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge, a virtual global hackathon aimed at innovations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

June 6 at 3:00 PM ET

Detecting methane emissions during COVID-19, ESA

“While carbon dioxide is more abundant in the atmosphere and therefore more commonly associated with global warming, methane is around 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas. Given its importance, Canadian company GHGSat have worked in collaboration with the Sentinel-5P team at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research to investigate hotspots of methane emissions during COVID-19.”

May 27 at 2:00 PM ET

The Canadian Space Agency has joined the NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge being held this weekend.

The Department of National Defence has launched three new COVID-19 Challenges for the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program. (DND)

May 11 at 3:00 PM ET

EDC announces expanded support for more Canadian companies to help navigate COVID-19 crisis

“With the goal of helping more Canadian businesses face the financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program available under Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) with support from Export Development Canada (EDC).”

May 8 at 1:00 PM ET

Minister Bains announces new Industry Strategy Council

“The Industry Strategy Council will serve as an advisory body to give advice on economic policy to relevant federal ministers. Members of the Council will be announced in the near future and will complement the structure and focus of the Economic Strategy Tables.”

May 4 at 8:00 AM ET

Aerospace company seeks approval for multi-patient ventilator

There’s an urgent need for ventilators as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic makes its way around the world. Canada’s Space Engine Systems (SES) has a developed new ventilator almost ready for use, as long as medical authorities approve the work.

May 3 at 1:12 PM ET

Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster Launches Innovative Solutions to Fight COVID-19

“Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization behind Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, today announced it has invested more than $21 million in projects that will lead to the production in Canada of critically needed technologies, equipment, and medical devices to aid in the fight against COVID-19.”

April 23 at 12:30 PM ET

COVID-19 and its effect on academia in the space community

COVID-19 is leaving no aspect of our lives untouched including at universities where students and professors have had to adapt to our new reality.

Trudeau announces $1.1 B scientific strategy to fight COVID-19 (CBC)

The plan has three components:

  • $115 million for research into vaccines and treatments being developed in hospitals and universities.
  • $662 million for clinical trials in Canada.
  • $350 million to expand national testing and modelling for COVID-19.

April 20 at 1:30 PM ET

Canadian Space community discusses COVID-19 and its impact

The Satellite Canada Innovation Network (SatCan) recently held a Canadian town hall to discuss COVID-19 and its impact on the community.

April 16 at 3:30 PM ET

International Space Station Research and Development Conference Postponed

After careful consideration and extensive discussions amongst key stakeholders within the space station community, the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, the American Astronautical Association and NASA have elected to cancel the 2020 International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) as an in-person event in Seattle.

April 15 at 2:30 PM ET

SNOLAB team helping to develop ventilators that can be built anywhere in the world with off-the-shelf parts

Ventilator shortages have caused panic the world over during the COVID-19 pandemic, but an international team of physicists and engineers has put its mind to the task of dealing with the problem — and a Sudbury contingent is on that team.

Using their collective knowledge of gas-handling and electronic control systems in the search for dark matter in the universe, they’ve designed an open-source ventilator — one that can be built relatively quickly, anywhere in the world, with off-the-shelf parts.

April 13 at 10:26 AM ET

United Kingdom opens innovation competition

A reader brought this to our attention. The UK has issued the EUREKA collaborative R&D: advanced materials competition.

Canadian companies can partner with UK ones and are eligible to share in the funding.

CATA Alliance letter to the Prime Minister

The CATA Alliance is leading an effort to get support for the technology community. They released a letter on April that in parts asks the government to:

  • Immediately release the $200 million in filed and backlogged Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) claims.
  • Create a one-time $3.6 billion Canada Emergency Resilience and Rebound (Canada R&R) Fund for these pre-qualified businesses that are currently receiving science and research tax credits.

April 7 at 10:29 AM ET

CanCOVID cross-sector initiative includes CSA science advisor

The Canadian Space Agency science advisor to the President is among the research experts participating in the new CanCOVID initiative, which brings together researchers, clinical collaborators and healthcare stakeholders to address the novel coronavirus pandemic.

April 3 at 3:20 PM ET

Insights from Space: Assessing Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis (pwc France)

The role of space data in assessing the industrial and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Get the free report.

April 2 at 2:50 PM ET

FREE REGISTRATION OPEN: Canadian Space Virtual Town Hall, SatCan

Join us for a conversation on the state of the space industry in the age of COVID-19. Save the date April 9th @ 11:00 AM EDT. Presented by Satellite Canada Innovation Network and moderated by Iain Christie. Register now. (SatCan)

March 31 at 7:50 PM ET

Satellite Canada Innovation Network (SatCan) Update for industry

Firstly, I hope you and yours are all safe and healthy.

As you may have noticed, recent events have created seismic changes for Canadian space. I was hoping to receive you feedback in this 4-minute SatCan Stakeholder Survey. It will help us to assess the impact of recent economic impacts business so we may be able to support the industry. The survey is anonymous and I would encourage you to circulate this to your network so we can get a fuller picture of the impact. The deadline is April 5th so we may provide relevant and timely feedback.

Many thanks for your help with this.

Michelle Mendes, Executive Director
Satellite Canada Innovation Network (SatCan)

March 28 at 11:59 AM ET

New government economic announcements

March 26 at 9:55 AM ET

CASI ASTRO 2020 Postponed

The following email was sent out by CASI:

ASTRO 2020 together with the Space Situational/Domaine Awareness Workshop will not take place from May 24-27 as originally planned. We are currently looking for alternate dates later in the year that we hope will be safely removed from the uncontained threat of COVID-19., and we will keep you informed.

When new arrangements have been confirmed, the Call for Abstracts will be re-issued and new deadlines will be set for abstract submission, for Early Bird Conference registration and for the availability of the Conference Hotel rate will be released. Meanwhile, Hotel reservations should be cancelled, and we will refund registration fees already paid by Workshop and Conference participants.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience this change of dates may cause. If you face a particularly difficult situation please contact us and we will see if we can be of assistance.

We trust you share our commitment to doing what is necessary to bring this disease under control.


CSA updates Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program AO’s

With the Coronavirus COVID-19 creating havoc for business, the Canadian Space Agency has provided the following updates to two Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program announcement of opportunities.

March 25 at 9:25 AM ET

Canadian Space Agency sends a message to industry partners

SpaceQ was forwarded a message the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) sent to industry partners last night to update them and reassure them that they are there for them.

March 24 at 4:12 PM ET

Burloak Technologies open letter to global manufacturers of respiratory systems and health care providers

The letter posted on LinkedIn by Simon Walls, President and Peter Adams, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer is offering their services as an additive manufacturing (3D printing) and advanced manufacturing company to the community.

March 24 at 12:28 PM ET

As the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic sets in, the effects on organizations present many challenges and for some, opportunity.

March 23 at 3:05 PM ET

Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium and Space Resources Roundtable postponed to the fall

In response to the COVID – 19 situation and the guidance provided by health officials, the PTMSS/SRR conference scheduled for June 9-11, 2020 will be postponed to the fall. We are working with our venue and stakeholders to determine a suitable date and will provide that information as soon as it becomes available. We will also be updating our abstract submission and early bird registration deadlines accordingly.

For those of you who have already registered for the conference, your registration will be valid for the new dates. Should you wish a refund, please contact me directly to have it issued.

March 23 at 12:45 PM ET

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada cancels General Assembly

A Message from RASC President Chris Gainor
March 23, 2020

To the Members of The RASC,

I am writing today to update you on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

General Assembly

First, I am announcing the cancellation of the 2020 General Assembly, which was set to take place in Vancouver in early June. I’m sure that I need not elaborate on the reasons behind this decision. The prospect of a lengthy period of social distancing due to the coronavirus and the difficulties this has imposed on the organizers of the GA made it clear that we should cancel this event, the first time this has happened in the more than 60 years of RASC General Assemblies.

Hayley Miller and her team at the Vancouver Centre have been doing a tremendous job preparing for this event, and their work will pay off in some virtual events which we shall announce in the coming days. Those who have already registered for the GA will soon hear about refunds for their registration fees. In making this decision, we hope that RASC members will be able to gather at a GA in Vancouver in the not too distant future.

The RASC will hold an Annual General Meeting in Toronto later this year. More details on this event will be communicated once they are available.

Read the complete letter.

Creative Destruction Lab goes virtual

CDL is pleased to announce that we will continue to operate at full capacity during the pandemic crisis through our new online platform: Virtual CDL.

CDL’s mission is to enhance the prosperity of humankind through the rapid development and scaling of science-based companies. The commercialization of research is especially relevant during this global crisis. However, startups face even greater challenges than usual in an environment where capital markets are curtailed, customers are reluctant to experiment with new products and services, face-to-face meetings are dramatically reduced, and trade shows and conferences designed to introduce vendors and customers are cancelled.

At the same time, to maintain a viable economy, companies cannot adopt a “wait and see” approach to building their businesses. Thus, CDL will continue to operate, albeit in a new format.

March 20 at 12:59 PM ET

ITU launches new guidelines to assist countries develop national emergency telecommunication plans

In the face of the global coronavirus crisis, as in any other emergency, the speed and efficiency of our response is proportional to the level of preparedness. To help countries better manage disaster response activities at a time when the frequency, intensity and human and economic impact of disasters is on the rise worldwide, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launches new guidelines for the development and implementation of National Emergency Telecommunication Plans.

March 20 at 11:52 AM ET

Farnborough International Airshow 2020 cancelled

It is with great regret that we announce the Farnborough International Airshow 2020, due to take place in July, is cancelled.

After very careful consideration, the unprecedented impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic has forced this decision in the interests of the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, contractors and staff.

This decision was reached taking into consideration several major factors surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, all of which we have concluded, make it impossible for us to create and host the Airshow this July.

We understand this news will be an incredible disappointment to all across the international aerospace industry, not to mention our important exhibitors, suppliers and visitors. We at Farnborough International share your disappointment that we are unable to present the Airshow as planned, but rest assured, we are determined to continue to work together and will ensure the Farnborough International Airshow returns in 2022 better than ever.

March 20 at 11:44 AM ET

PCI Geomatics offering FREE temporary “work from home” licenses

Given the rapid escalation of COVID-19 related work arrangements, many of you have reached out asking for temporary licenses as you shift to work from home. We realize that due to this disruption, accessing your PCI software (or providing access to your students who are away from campus) has been challenging, and that this will likely continue for several days or weeks. We also want to make sure education customers can make distance learning seamless for students, therefore moving your lab licenses to work from home can be implemented. PCI Geomatics is here to help – Sign-up now to obtain a temporary “Work from home” licenses, at no charge.

Maxar sends force majeure notes to some customers

Seeking Alpha is reporting the following with respect to Maxar.

Maxar Technologies has sent force majeure notices to some customers, in response to the shelter-at-home order in Santa Clara County, Calif. (an order that has now been extended statewide).

March 20 at 9:44 AM ET

Nitrogen dioxide emissions over China, European Space Agency

This animation, using data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, shows the nitrogen dioxide emissions from 20 December 2019 until 16 March 2020 – using a 10-day moving average. The drop in emissions in late-January is visible, coinciding with the nationwide quarantine, and from the beginning of March, the nitrogen dioxide levels have begun to increase.

C-CORE issues a statement on the status of their operations.

On behalf of the C-CORE team, I would like to begin by saying I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well, doing your best to stay safe and healthy during this very unusual and difficult time.

At present, C-CORE is following Health Canada recommended procedures – social distancing and conducting as much work as possible remotely (typically from home), as we are sure many of you are as well. Fortunately, much of the research that we do can effectively be done at a distance. However, some of our project operations are impeded, access to key equipment may be limited and work with partners and subcontractors may be delayed.

Should these challenges impact a project schedule, deliverables and/or invoicing, we will contact you to work out accommodations or needed changes. Please feel free to reach out to us, should you have concern that your work with C-CORE may be similarly impacted; we will work with you to accommodate needed changes.

You can continue to contact us by telephone and email as usual, and can participate in virtual meetings using a range of technologies to continue collaboration and client updates.

Please, do not hesitate to contact anyone from our team with questions, concerns or project considerations in the context of the current COVID-19 situation. We look forward to continuing to work with clients and stakeholders, keeping safety and wellbeing as the top priority. Once again, we at C-CORE wish you all the best during this time, as always.

Paul Griffin
President and CEO

The JWST Cycle 1 Deadline Has Been Delayed

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) has delayed the James Webb Space Telescope JWST Cycle 1 General Observer proposals.

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is causing significant impact and disruption on the worldwide community. The situation is evolving rapidly with no obvious conclusion in sight.

Given those circumstances, STScI, NASA, ESA, and CSA have taken the decision to delay the proposal deadline for JWST Cycle 1 General Observer (GO) proposals to no earlier than May 27, 2020. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will provide an update on the schedule on April 15, 2020.

March 19 at 4:52 PM ET

Esri Canada creates Canadian COVID-19 Resource

This GIS Hub is provided by Esri Canada to share information about the coronavirus pandemic. Information sources include the Community Map of Canada, the Living Atlas, Environics Analytics and others.

March 19 at 12:42 PM ET

Canadian Space Agency working in an evolving COVID-19 situation

Since the government directed some federal workers this past Monday to telework, updated or new content on the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) channels, be it their website or social media, has dropped precipitously.

March 19 at 10:09 AM ET

Department of National Defence IDEaS program update

In response to the evolving situation with regards to COVID-19, the IDEaS program team is operating at a highly reduced capacity. As such, the current IDEaS program of work will be delayed. No new challenges will be released until further notice.

We will continue to assess the situation and will provide updates when they are available.

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

The IDEaS Team

Canadian Satellite Design Challenge postpones vibration testing for teams

Lawrence Reeves of the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society sent out this email to university teams. Note, the CSDC should not be confused with the Canadian Space Agency Canadian CubeSat Project.

With the emergency measures being enacted across Canada (and the world), and in particular at DFL and university campuses, the CSDCMS has decided to postpone the CSDC-5 random vibration testing at DFL which was planned for June.

Note that I said “postpone” and not “cancel”. We fully intend to complete the current CSDC when the timing is right. At the moment, though, we have no idea as to when that might be.

Thank you to the team leaders who replied to my earlier e-mail and provided me with a status update from their teams and campuses.

March 18 at 11:02 AM ET

MDA and Coronavirus COVID-19

Midday Tuesday we asked what measures MDA was implementing with regards to the Coronavirus COVID-19 and its employees. They sent us this and posted it online shortly afterwards. We sent the same question to other companies and are waiting on responses though we heard from GHGSat beow..

MDA is following government recommendations across Canada and the UK.

We are aligning all corporate travel restrictions with government recommendations and we have implemented a work-from-home-if-able policy while are adapting our IT infrastructure to maximize the ability for employees to work from home. For anyone who has travelled internationally or lives with someone who has, we have a 14-day self-quarantine policy. We will continue to operate the business under these modified work practices to the maximum extent possible.

A direct question regarding the manufacturing line in Montreal of OneWeb antenna’s was not answered. It’s unclear whether that aspect of the OneWeb supply chain has been affected.

GHGSat employees working from home

SpaceQ contacted GHGSat to assess what measures they were taking. CEO Stephane Germain told us:

Yes, GHGSat is working from home. The biggest impact for us is the launch hold announced by Arianespace for Vega-16, due to suspension of operations at the Guyana Space Center by CNES for COVID-19. We were at L-10 days.

March 17 at 11:02 AM ET

Resources for small businesses

Government of Canada Trade Commissioner – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian businesses.

Business Development Bank of Canada

Export Development Canada

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security (CADSI) Industries updates

Important Notice about CAF Outlooks 2020 – On Sunday, March 15, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health recommended the immediate suspension of events of all sizes. We are following this recommendation and as such, CADSI will no longer have a face-to-face aspect of the 2020 CAF Outlooks, which had been planned for the Shaw Centre on April 7-9.

Important notice about CADSI 2019 Annual General Meeting – On Sunday, March 15, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health recommended the immediate suspension of events of all sizes. As such, there will no longer be a face-to-face aspect of the Annual General Meeting. Instead, this event will now take place via teleconference at the same date and time: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 13.00 EDT.

At the moment CANSEC 2020 is still scheduled to go forward. The situation is fluid as you all know so we’ll post any updates as we learn about them.

March 16 at 3:20 PM ET

AIxSPACE postponed o November 2, 2020

Due to the measures taken by the Governments of Quebec and Canada in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Euroconsult and Innovitech have decided to postpone the holding of AIxSPACE now scheduled to November 2, 2020.

As an international event, AIxSPACE brings people together from all over the world and the health of our participants, speakers and teams remains a priority.

We expect the situation to improve in the coming months.

We invite you, as of now, to note the date of November 2, 2020 to meet us at the BAnQ de Montréal and to take part in this unique event.

Tickets already purchased will be valid for the postponed date.

Rest assured that this hiatus will allow us to make this edition a stronger and more innovative event, in line with the image of our industries.

If you have any questions, please do do not hesitate to contact us by email at

March 16 at 1:23 PM ET

Canadian Space Agency worked to telework

SpaceQ contacted the Canadian Space Agency to find out if employees would be working from home and what affect if any the Coronavirus will have on operations.

The Canadian Space Agency is complying with Government of Canada guidelines. CSA employees have therefore been asked to telework.

It is early at this point to tell what the impact of COVID-19 will be on CSA projects. Critical services such as ISS and satellite operations are ongoing and will continue to be supported as a priority.

March 16 at 11:37 AM ET

COVID-19: Guiana Space Center suspends launch campaigns

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need to fully implement the measures decided by the French government, launch campaigns underway at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana have been suspended. These launch preparations will resume as soon as allowed by health conditions.

Editors note: This means that the Arianespace Vega mission (VV16) launch has been postponed. The mission included two Canadian satellites, ESAIL for exactEarth and GHGSat-C1 for GHGSat.

March 16 at 9:42 AM ET

L’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) is closed from March 14 through March 28.

Notre établissement demeure fermé jusqu’au 27 mars 2020 inclusivement. Toutes les activités sont supendues. 

March 15 at 11:06 AM ET

New space events cancellation or going virtual


After much thought and consideration, we have made the decision to
cancel and reschedule the Asteroids, Comets, Meteors Conference that
0as to be held June 14-19, 2020, in Flagstaff, Arizona, due to the
rapid spread of and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. The
welfare and safety of our community and staff is very important to us.

Watch for updates on rescheduled dates. All participants should cancel
their current hotel reservations and travel arrangements for
June 14-19, 2020.


The April Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) Meeting is
converted from an in-person meeting to a fully virtual meeting. This
meeting will be held over the same dates (April 15-17, 2020), within
~8:30 am-1:00 pm PDT each day.

For more information, please go to:

March 15 at 10:34 AM ET

Government announces initial measures to support the economy

The Department of Finance announced some initial measure to support businesses during the current crisis. Additional initiatives are expected this week and the coming weeks.

To start the government is establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).

The program will further support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). Under this program, BDC and EDC will enhance their cooperation with private sector lenders to coordinate financing and credit insurance solutions for Canadian businesses. This will allow BDC and EDC to provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer requirement for domestic systemically important banks by 1.25% of risk weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will increase the lending capacity of Canada’s large banks and support the supply of credit to the economy during the period of disruption related to COVID-19. The release of the buffer will support in excess of $300 billion of additional lending capacity.

The Bank of Canada is committed to providing sufficient liquidity to the Canadian financial system and to supporting business and consumer confidence. Today, the Bank announced a new Bankers’ Acceptance Purchase Facility. This will support a key funding market for small- and medium-size businesses at a time when they may have increased funding needs and credit conditions are tightening.

News related to this announcement:

March 14 at 10:33 AM ET

Coronavirus: nitrogen dioxide emissions drop over Italy

New data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite reveal the decline of air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions, over Italy. This reduction is particularly visible in northern Italy which coincides with its nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The animation shows the fluctuation of nitrogen dioxide emissions across Europe from 1 January 2020 until 11 March 2020, using a 10-day moving average. These data are thanks to the Tropomi instrument on board the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite which maps a multitude of air pollutants around the globe.

March 13 at 4:11 PM ET

Telesat closes offices globally as cautionary measure due to COVID-19 pandemic

Telesat today announced it has enacted its work from home policy in its offices globally effective March 16, 2020 in an effort to keep office workers safe and facilitate social distancing amidst the increase of COVID-19.

Telesat provides critical satellite communications infrastructure to its customers and as such, has comprehensive business continuity plans to ensure continued operations of its satellites, network and teleport infrastructure.

“The continued safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority,” stated Dan Goldberg, CEO of Telesat. “We have invested in the right tools and business continuity planning and, as a result, can maintain the critical infrastructure and services that our customers rely while our work from home policy is in effect.”

March 13 at 2:25 PM ET

Ingenium Museums Close

Due to the COVID-19 virus, Ingenium museums will be closed to the public until further notice. Health and safety of the public, staff and the animals in our care are our top priorities. We apologize for the inconvenience.

March 13 at 1:53 PM ET

More international conferences cancelled

The Global Aerospace Summit scheduled for March 17-19 in Abu Dhabi has been postponed until June 2020.

CABSAT2020, originally scheduled fMarch 31 to April 2, has been postponed until October 26-28, 2020.

The UNIDIR 2020 Space Security Conference scheduled for April 7-9 in Geneva has been rescheduled for June 9-10, 2020.

March 13 at 1:29 PM ET

Department of National Defence Land Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Modernization (Land ISR Mod) Project Update

The Department of National Defence Land Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Modernization (Land ISR Mod) Project (LOI/RFI) has been updated. The One-on-One meetings will go ahead as planned. (PCPS)

Perimeter Institute Update

Perimeter Institute is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and is implementing proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our community members, including visitors. For this reason, Perimeter has cancelled its April public lecture.

We will keep you updated on changes to other upcoming Perimeter events and activities, such as our Classical World Artists concert series.

March 13 at 11:42 AM ET

Western Space Day postponed

An official notice will be posted with details later today, but the Western Space Day scheduled for April 3rd has been postponed.

March 13 at 11:17 AM ET

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Notice

The following notice was distributed to RASC centres;

Our daily news feeds are now dominated by stories of public events, conferences, concerts and whole sports seasons being suspended or cancelled due to concern over the spread of COVID-19. It is only natural to be concerned about what precautions we should be taking as a Society, and indeed several Centres have already contacted the national office looking for guidelines about whether or not meetings and/or outreach sessions should be cancelled.

My suggestion is to follow the advice from Health Canada on their site “Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak,” and for each Centre to weigh the risks of holding public meetings, and of strategies for mitigating those risks if meetings are to continue. It’s important to remember that many of the events we see being cancelled right now are either very large (e.g., rock concerts or sporting events with tens of thousands of attendees) or draw international attendees, or both. Our meetings are, of course, much smaller and tend to be very local in their draw. Balanced against this is the fact that we tend to have a lot of older members, who are at the greatest risk from the virus. Also, public outreach events where there is a lot of sharing of eyepieces, etc. may pose additional risk for cross-contamination.

Specific recommendations for risk mitigation offered by Health Canada, and which we should all be considering for our meetings, include:

  • reducing the number of participants or changing the venue to prevent crowding;
  • staggering arrivals and departures;
  • providing packaged refreshments instead of a buffet;
  • increasing access to handwashing stations;
  • promoting personal protective practices (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, staying home if ill);
  • offering virtual or live-streamed activities; and
  • changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.

The full set of recommendations for from Health Canada for public events can be found here:

Finally, it’s important to remember that we’re in the middle of an evolving crisis. What might seem dire or alternatively harmless now, might seem the opposite, two weeks or two months from now. To keep making the best judgement in the circumstances it’s a good idea to keep on top of current, credible information about the COVID-19 Outbreak. Here is a link to Health Canada’s regularly updated page on the topic:

We at National Office will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to Centres as events warrant. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any specific questions about this matter.

Philip Groff, Ph.D.
Executive Director RASC

Space Foundation Postpones 36th Space Symposium

The Space Foundation issued a statement today announcing the 36th Space Symposium, previously scheduled for March 30 – April 2, 2020, has been postponed:

The Space Foundation is working with its partners, The Broadmoor, the City of Colorado Springs, and its members and other key stakeholders to identify future dates and details that will assemble the world’s space community again in Colorado.

In the coming days, we will be issuing additional guidance about those steps and the identified path forward. We ask for your patience as that guidance is assembled and conveyed to our partners, attendees, the public, and the space community we are proud to serve.

From the beginning, the Space Foundation has valued its stewardship role in assembling the diverse members of the world’s space community. Those efforts will continue forward as we look toward future assemblies, programs, and activities that expand and diversify the space economy; inspire and educate every generation to take their place in this bold frontier; and, advocate that space has a place for us all.

Thank you for your attention and support.

Secure World Foundation postpones 2nd Summit for Space Sustainability

After careful consideration of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and the developments of this week, Secure World Foundation has decided to postpone the 2nd Summit for Space Sustainability from June 2-3, 2020 to September 10-11, 2020. The location will remain the same: FHI 360 in Washington, DC. 

Due to the uncertainties surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and the fact that the severity of this outbreak is already having large effects on travel and gatherings in the coming months, we have decided to adjust plans accordingly.  The safety and health of our attendees, speakers, and staff, as well as the quality of the event, remain our highest priorities, and we believe that postponing the Summit will alleviate health concerns as well as allow us to bring you a higher quality event. 

We thank our partners, speakers, and participants for their understanding and look forward to the event in September. Registration will remain open and programming and partner announcements will follow in the weeks and months to come.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Conference Chair, Krystal Azelton, if you have any questions or concerns.

March 12 at 3:05 PM ET

ExoMars to take off for the Red Planet in 2022.

In the frame of a dedicated meeting, ESA and Roscosmos heads Jan Wörner and Dmitry Rogozin agreed that further tests to the spacecraft with the final hardware and software are needed. In addition, the parties had to recognise that the final phase of ExoMars activities are compromised by the general aggravation of the epidemiological situation in European countries.

March 12 at 2:43 PM ET

Space Symposium suffers blow with coronavirus travel ban.

The Space Symposium has suffered a blow with travel restrictions ordered by the White House in response to coronavirus. (The Gazette – Colorado Springs News)

ScienceNorth in Sudbury reports that they’re still open.

March 12 at 2:26 PM ET

The SmallSat Revolution: Doing More with Less has been cancelled:

The Universities Space Research Association and the Space Policy Institute of The George Washington University have cancelled the symposium entitled “The SmallSat Revolution: Doing More with Less” on March 26, 2020 in Washington DC.

The 59th Session of the Legal Subcommittee COPUOS has been cancelled:

This is to inform that after careful consideration and consultations, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, in its capacity as Secretariat of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its Subcommittees, has decided to cancel the two-weeks session of the Legal Subcommittee.

The Subcommittee was scheduled to hold its 59th session at Vienna from 23 March to 3 April 2020. This session as scheduled is cancelled. A corresponding note will be sent to Permanent Missions of States members of the Committee and to permanent observer organizations, as soon as possible.

The Secretariat highly regrets this decision of cancellation. Information on the developments of COVID-19, as well as the well-being of members of delegations and of staff members, were taken into due consideration. It was the only responsible action in an emergency situation where we don’t know the COVID-19 status in the coming period.

The Secretariat is looking into the possible holding of a 1-day meeting constituting an extraordinary measure only to consider administrative matters of the Legal Subcommittee. Information in that regard will be communicated to Permanent Missions of States members of the Committee.

UNOOSA COVID-19 Outbreak Coordinator has been instituted to monitoring the situation continuously, including relevant situation reports and recommendations of the Organization and of the Host Country.

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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