This Week in Space for Canada – September 11

Given that the Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. have recently signed an agreement on “Civil Space Cooperation” it might be worthwhile for Canadian’s to do some research to update our communal sense of who we’ve decided to maintain cooperation with.

I’m not saying that that the agreement is an especially bad thing for Canada (although based on some of the recent comments from NASA Watch there seems a reasonable possibility that the Canadian Space Agency will shortly have more options and disposable income than NASA). I’m just curious about how this relates to some of our other initiatives and our Canadian perceptions of the broader issues in space exploration.
For example, Canadian Press writer Peter Rakobowchuk recently wrote about how “Canadian astronaut Thirsk idolizes Jean Beliveau, but is Bruins fan” which supposedly reflects the well known Canadian predilection for hockey references in news stories.
I’m not sure how the article relates to the NASA lack of funding for Ares and Constellation although perhaps some American will get a basketball player to comment to clear things up. After all, who better to discuss whether or not a trajectory is unsustainable as the NASA trajectory as described by the Augustine committee (PDF) than a basketball player.
I’m also not terribly sure about how the American’s will take our top Canadian space story of the week which is the announcement by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Lalibert on his plans to host a global extravaganza starring Al Gore, U2, Dr. David Suzuki, Peter Gabriel, space station astronauts Frank De Winne and Julie Payette plus Laliberte’s own Cirque du Soleil performers along with quite a few others from the International Space Station on October 9th.
The Guardian in England has already claimed in this article that Lalibert, while admitting his program will officially promote the ONEDROP Foundation to raise awareness of the need for accessible water supplies, is also at least partially “about drumming up business for his travelling circus in Russia.” As per this document, the Cirque du Soleil is indeed planning “long term investment and partnership with Russia” so perhaps the Guardian has a point.
Either way, let’s hope that this new-space entrepreneurship, as epitomized by Lalibert, meshes well with traditional, even “dyna-space” focused American based companies who are also looking to sell their products into various markets through their exposure in space focused adventures.
Surely we live in interesting times.

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