Sources tell SpaceQ that the new Canadian Space Strategy to be released later today will include a review of space related regulatory frameworks.
Specifically, the government is looking to “ensure they provide timely responses for industry, maintain strategic oversight for national security and enable commercial growth,” according to a source.
Updating regulatory frameworks to meet the current real world demands is something industry has been looking for. It is also seen as a way of attracting investment into Canada.
It will however require that the government provide more resources in the form of personnel and funding to various departments including Global Affairs Canada, ISED and the Department of Transport.
The new Space Strategy will include to a large extent many of the announcements the government has already made, including the moon as the centrepiece.
One of the most important aspects of the new Space Strategy is the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). The $150M over five years is meant for small and medium companies to “develop and demonstrate technologies that will create new commercial opportunities in Canada linked to our participation in the Lunar Gateway mission.”
This will likely include flight demonstrations for moon missions, opening the door for several Canadian companies to get hardware on the moon including landers and rovers.
Details on the LEAP program and how the funding will be allocated is still many months away from being announced. What’s interesting is that rather than go through the traditional budget request and needing Cabinet approval, that the strength of the new Space Strategy along with the case that was made, is such that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) with Privy Council Office support, can go straight to the Treasury Board. The CSA will need to present a very detailed plan to get the funding. The source told SpaceQ that going directly to the Treasury Board will save time.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, inspiring youth, including the new Junior Astronauts will all be in the Space Strategy. As will the recent push in deep space medicine and health care.
While there isn’t expected to be any new funding coming in the short term for Earth observation (EO), the results of the National Forum on Earth Observation from Space and a new EO plan will be important going forward. Specifically, there is a need to prioritize EO capabilities and use data to support and solve challenges on Earth. Data, and in particular big data and analytics will also be a focus.
SpaceQ has learned that the efforts of Natural Resources (NRCan), specifically the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan and its mentions of space resources, will not be in the new Space Strategy. The coordination of these efforts between NRCan and other departments is a bridge that still needs to be built. The combination of a new Space Strategy along with NRCan’s including of space resources as part of their long-term planning may just be enough of a signal to attract the kind of attention, and investment, that’s been going to countries like Luxembourg, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.
The astronomy community may be the one that isn’t satisfied with the new Space Strategy. It sounds like it does not include anything significant for them.
The release of the new Space Strategy was apparently moved up as it seems the public response to last weeks announcement that Canada is going to the moon was well received.