This Week in Space for Canada for the Week Ending September 18

Although we only have a few commercial players in the aerospace market we do have a strong skill set, at least according to Space Technologies document available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade website which states:

“The Canadian space technologies sector is knowledge intensive and is at the forefront of research and innovation. Building on the strengths of more than 6,000 highly skilled workers, 2,100 of whom are engineers and scientists, Canadian space firms have world-leading capabilities in such areas as satellite-based communications services, space robotics and earth observation.”
With that in mind, here are a couple of highlights in the Canadian Space industry for this week.
Telesat, a former Bell Canada Enterprises subsidiary (now privately held and with most shares owned by either the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board or Loral Space and Communications Inc.) celebrated the launch of its Nimiq 5 television satellite from Kazakhstan on September 17th. Telesat now operates twelve satellites in total which is quite a few more than is currently administered by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
– Speaking of satellite launches, the CSA, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), various contractors and suppliers (including Bristol, Burley Scientific, EMS, Magnametrics, MDA, Novatel and Routes AstroEngineering), multiple universities ( including the University of Calgary’s Institute for Space Research, the University of Alberta, the University of Athabasca, the University of New Brunswick, University of Saskatchewan the University of Western Ontario and York University) and even the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) are all waiting patiently for someone to provide some extra space aboard an appropriately pointed rocket in order to launch the “CASade, Smallsat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer” (CASSIOPE). This program is “vital to the future of the Canadian space program” according to the CASSIOPE website so it’s a shame that the project team is having such a difficult time finding a launcher for this new generation of smaller, more cost effective satellites.
– Now it’s not as if Canada doesn’t have any rockets it can use. It might just be that no one recognizes them for the assets they are as evidenced by this recent article where a NASA launched Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket built by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, Manitoba was mistaken for a UFO.
– In other, non-rocket launching news, aerospace electronics manufacturer, Norsat International while “celebrating thirty years of excellence” also took time out of their busy schedule to roll out a spectrum analyzer for use as part of a new line of satellite terminal tools according to this article on the Trading Markets website.
– And as part of our ongoing recognition of the profitability of Canadian aerospace focused organizations, it’s interesting to note that Canadian GPS manufacturer Novatel has a stock price 81% higher than last year according to this article on The Motley Fool Stock Advisor. GPS’s are one of the obvious spin off’s of the space program and it’s good to see this Canadian company profit handsomely.
– Oh yes! I also forgot to mention that the latest Canada Arm keeps on going and going, as evidenced by this CSA press release which reported that the “Canadarm2 successfully captured an unpiloted, free-flying Japanese vehicle” as a preliminary to docking the module at the International Space Station.
Of course, all these activities are overwhelmed by the spirited debate going on in the US regarding the future of their manned space program and Guy Laliberte’s upcoming space tourist flight to the International Space Station. The first will define the American space program for the next few decades and the second may very well do the same for Canada.
But that sort of fun begins next week in space for Canada.

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