Short Cuts: Dr. Robert Thirsk Interview, Op Ed on Small Satellites, On-Orbit Servicing and More

In today’s Short Cuts: We provide an Op-Ed on small satellite manufacturing in Canada, Work, Not Work Podcast interviews Dr. Robert Thirsk, MDA’s U.S. acquisition SSL gets long sought after satellite servicing contract, Canada searches for a Chief Science Advisor and more.

If you would like to submit a Short Cut, please email us at [email protected].

Note: SpaceRef Canada is now accepting Op-Ed’s from academia, industry and those professionally involved in the space sector. If you’re interested in submitting an Op-Ed use this form or by email to [email protected]

Op-Ed’s typically run from 400 to 1,200 words, but submissions of any length will be considered. All submissions must be original, and exclusive to SpaceRef Canada. We will not consider articles that have already been published, in any form, in print or online.

Op Ed – The Government Should Support Canada Becoming a Small Satellite Manufacturing Hub

Recently, there has been noteworthy news related to small satellites. First and significantly, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released details of new applications from companies wanting to deploy constellations of small satellites, most in non-geostationary orbits (NGSO).

This included applications from two Canadian companies, Kepler Communications and Telesat. The total number of planned NGSO satellites in applications filled since June of this year, is close to 9,000. To put that number in context, there are currently only a little over 1,400 active satellites of all sizes in orbit. To add another approximate 9,000 satellites in the coming years, all in non-geostationary orbits, is unheard of.

The Search Begins for Canada’s Chief Science Advisor (With press conference video)

The Canadian government has officially begun the hunt for a Chief Science Officer, a position that the Liberals promised to create once elected. The announcement was made Monday morning in Ottawa by the Science Minister, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan.

MDA Scores a Win in Long Sought After Satellite Servicing Business Segment

It seems patience pays off. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) yesterday announced that MDA’s U.S. subsidiary Space Systems Loral (SSL) has won a $127 million contract to develop the Restore-L Spacecraft Bus which will be used to service a government satellite in low earth orbit.

Dr. Robert Thirsk Interview (Podcast)

Dr. Robert Thirsk isn’t ready to write his autobiography – yet. You would think someone who qualified first as a mechanical engineer then as a medical doctor and then became an astronaut and is now a university chancellor there would already be lots to put in at least one book. But Bob Thirsk, at 63, believes there’s lots more life to live. He describes himself, first and foremost, as an explorer. Quite simply he says there is lots more to explore before he writes his memoire.

Crafting Revolutionary Technology For Space and Earth Explorations

Vast and enigmatic, space has incited a considerable amount of fascination despite being an impossible destination for the average Earthling. Everything from ancient astronomy to modern-day extraterrestrials demonstrates our fixation with the boundless extension of our skies, but only a few devote their lives to studying the mysteries of space. In the Canadian context, Dr. Jean de Lafontaine is one such example.

President of NGC Aerospace and a professor with the Université de Sherbrooke’s faculty of engineering, Dr. de Lafontaine’s fascination with space exploration has only intensified with time. He founded NGC in 2001 and since then, the company has been making mobile vehicles autonomous and intelligent, employing breakthrough technology that has revolutionized the aerospace industry.

SCOSTEP Visiting Scholarship – Call for Applications 2017

The submission of applications for the 2017 SCOSTEP Visiting Scholarship is now open.

The SCOSTEP Visiting Scholar (SVS) program is a capacity building activity of SCOSTEP (Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics), which complements the current scientific program, VarSITI (Variability of the Sun and its Terrestrial Impact, and SCOSTEP’s public outreach activities.

The objective of the SVS program is to provide training to young scientists and graduate students from developing countries in well-established solar terrestrial physics institutes, for one to three months. The training will help the young scientists to advance their career in solar terrestrial physics using the technique/skill they learned during the training. SCOSTEP will provide the airfare, while the host institute will provide the living expenses (accommodation, sustenance, ground transportation, visa fees and other incidentals). Trainees should have their own health insurance or arrange a provision with the host institution.

Interested candidates should contact one of the SVS program hosts listed at and work out the details of the visit. Once the applicant and the host agree on a visit, the applicant needs to prepare an application package including the following details of the visit: (i) work to be performed; (ii) applicant’s curriculum vitae, (iii) dates of the visit and an estimate of the airfare in economy class; (iv) letter from the applicant’s supervisor, and (v) a letter from the host scientist/institution. A single pdf file of the above materials should be sent to SCOSTEP’s Scientific Secretary, Dr. Marianna G. Shepherd (mshepher[at] Deadline for applications: February 25, 2017.

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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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