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Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency
Agence spatiale canadienne
Agency overview
Formed March 1, 1989
Jurisdiction Government of Canada
Headquarters John H. Chapman Space Centre
Longueuil, Quebec
Employees 621 Full Time Equivalents 2013/14 [1]
Annual budget CAD $300 M (A-Base); $409 M (Actual 2013/14) [1]
Minister responsible James Moore, Minister of Industry
Agency executive Sylvain Laporte, President

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) (French: Agence spatiale canadienne (ASC)) was established by the Canadian Space Agency Act which received Royal Assent on May 10, 1990. The president of the agency is Sylvain Laporte who reports to the Minister of Industry. He was appointed as president on February 27, 2015 effective March 9, 2015.[2]

The headquarters of the CSA is located at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. The agency also has offices in Ottawa, Ontario, at the David Florida Laboratory (which is mainly an engineering installation), and small liaison offices in Washington, Paris, Cape Canaveral, and Houston.

History, mission and mandate

File:Canadian Space Agency Coat of Arms.svg
The coat of arms of the Canadian Space Agency granted on 25 July 1991, by the Canadian Heraldic Authority

The origins of the Canadian upper atmosphere and space program may be traced back to the end of the Second World War.[3] Between 1945 and 1960, Canada undertook a number of small launcher and satellite related projects under the aegis of defence research, including the development of the Black Brant rocket as well as series of advanced studies examining both orbital rendezvous and re-entry.[4] In 1957, scientists and engineers at the Canadian Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) under the leadership of John H. Chapman embarked on a project initially known simply as S-27 or the Topside Sounder Project. This work would soon lead to the development of Canada's first satellite known as Alouette 1.

With the launch of Alouette 1 in September 1962 Canada became the third country to put an artificial satellite into space. At the time, Canada only possessed upper atmospheric launch capabilities (sounding rockets), therefore, Alouette 1 was sent aloft by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from Vandenberg AFB in California. The technical excellence of the satellite, which lasted for ten years instead of the expected one, prompted the further study of the ionosphere with the Canadian-designed, US-launched, international ISIS program. This undertaking was designated an International Milestone of Electrical Engineering by IEEE in 1993. The launch of Anik A-1 in 1972 made Canada the first country in the world to establish its own domestic geostationary communication satellite network.[citation needed]

These and other space related activities in the 1980s compelled the Canadian government to promulgate the Canadian Space Agency Act which established the Canadian Space Agency. The Act received royal assent on May 10, 1990 and came into force on December 14, 1990.[5]

In 1999 the CSA was moved from project based to 'A-base' funding and given a fixed annual budget of $300 Million.[1] The actual budget varies from year to year due to additional earmarks and special projects.

The mandate of the Canadian Space Agency is to promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians. The Canadian Space Agency's mission statement says that the agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.


Cooperation with the European Space Agency

The CSA has been an "associated member" of the European Space Agency (ESA) for more than three decades,[12][13] and has several formal and informal partnerships and collaborative programs with space agencies in other countries, such as NASA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Indian Space Research Organization.

Canada's collaboration with Europe in space activities predated both the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.[12] From 1968, Canada held observer status in the European Space Conference (ESC), a ministerial-level organization set up to determine future European space activities, and it continued in this limited role after ESA was created in 1975.[12] Since January 1, 1979, Canada has had the special status of a "Participating State" with the ESA,[13] paying for the privilege and also investing in working time and providing scientific instruments which are placed on ESA probes. Canada is allowed to participate in optional programs; it also has to contribute to the General Budget but not as much as associate membership would have entailed. This status was unique at the time and remains so today.

On 15 December 2010 the accord was renewed for a further 10 years, until 2020.[13] By virtue of this accord, Canada takes part in ESA deliberative bodies and decision-making and in ESA's programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision specifically ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The head of the Canadian delegation to ESA is the president of the Canadian Space Agency. As of February 2009, there are currently 30 Canadians that are employed as staff members at ESA. (Distributed over various ESA sites: 20 at ESTEC; 4 at ESOC; 4 at ESA HQ; 2 at ESRIN).

Canadian space program

File:Canadarm 1 - STS-72.jpg
Canadarm (right) during Space Shuttle mission STS-72
File:STS-111 Installation of Mobile Base System.jpg
The Mobile Base System just before Canadarm2 installed it on the Mobile Transporter during STS-111

The Canadian Space Program is administered by the Canadian Space Agency. Canada has contributed technology, expertise and personnel to the world space effort, especially in collaboration with NASA and ESA.

There have been three recruiting campaigns for astronauts for the CSA. The first, in 1983, led to the selection of Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Robert Thirsk, Ken Money, Bjarni Tryggvason and Steve MacLean. The second, in 1992, selected Chris Hadfield, Julie Payette, Dafydd Williams and Mike Mackay. On May 13, 2009, it was announced after the completion of a third selection process that two new astronauts, Jeremy Hansen of Ailsa Craig, Ontario, and David Saint-Jacques, of Quebec City, had been chosen.[14] As of December 2012 there have been 17 space flights by Canadians.

In addition to its astronauts, some of the most notable Canadian technological contributions to space exploration include the Canadarm on the Space Shuttle, as well as the Canadarm2 and the rest of the Mobile Servicing System on the International Space Station. The Canadarm and Canadarm2 employ the Advanced Space Vision System which allows more efficient use of the robotic arms. Another Canadian technology of note is the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, which is an extension of the Canadarm used to inspect the Space Shuttle's thermal Protection System for damage while in orbit.[citation needed]

As of 2009 funding was C$350 million per year. Revenues for the 2009–2010 FY stood at C$328 million, and for 2013-2014, C$488 million.

Canadian satellites

File:Alouette 1.jpg
The Alouette 1 was the first satellite built by a country other than the United States or Soviet Union.
Name Launched Retired Purpose
Alouette 1 September 29, 1962 1972 Explore the ionosphere
Alouette 2 November 29, 1965 August 1, 1975 Explore the ionosphere
ISIS-I January 30, 1969 1990 Explore the ionosphere
ISIS-II April 1, 1971 1990 Explore the ionosphere
Hermes January 17, 1976 November, 1979 Experimental communications satellite
RADARSAT-1 November 4, 1995 March 29, 2013[15] Commercial Earth observation satellite
MOST June 30, 2003 Still in service Space telescope
SCISAT-1 August 12, 2003 Still in service Observe the Earth's atmosphere
RADARSAT-2 December 14, 2007 Still in service Commercial Earth observation satellite
Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite February 25, 2013[16] Still in service Microsatellite Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite
Sapphire February 25, 2013[16][17] Still in service military satellite
BRITE February 25, 2013[16][18] Still in service nano satellite
CASSIOPE 29 September 2013.[19][20] Still in service Ionosphere research, telecommunications.

Additionally, there are some commercial satellites launched by the telecommunications company Telesat Canada. These are the 13 Anik satellites (3 of which are still in service), the 3 Nimiq satellites (all currently used by Bell TV), and a satellite called M-Sat 1 launched on April 20, 1996, at 22h36 UTC. Further, technology and research satellites have been developed by the University of Toronto, including the CanX series.

International satellite projects

Name Country Agency Date Canadian contribution Notes
Viking Sweden SNSB 1986 Ultraviolet Imager PI: C. D. Anger and J. S. Murphree, University of Calgary; CAL
Akebono Japan ISAS 1989 Suprathermal and energetic ion mass spectrometer PI: Andrew Yau, U. of Calgary; HIA / SED / COM DEV
UARS USA NASA 1991 Wind Imaging Interferometer (WindII) PI: Gordon Shepherd, York University; CAL
Freja Sweden SNSB 1992 Auroral Imager; Cold Plasma Analyzer PI: J. S. Murphree, U. of Calgary; CAL / Routes
Interball-2 Russia RSA 1996 Ultraviolet Auroral Imager PI: L. L. Cogger, U. of Calgary; CAL
Nozomi Japan ISAS 1998 Thermal Plasma Analyzer PI: Andrew Yau, U. of Calgary; CAL / COM DEV
FUSE USA NASA 1999 Fine Error Sensor COM DEV
Terra USA NASA 1999 MOPITT (Measurements of Pollution in The Troposphere) PI: Jim Drummond; COM DEV
IMAGE USA NASA 2000 Wide Band Imaging Camera telescope EMS Technologies
Odin Sweden SNSB 2001 OSIRIS (Optical Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System) PI: Doug Degenstein, University of Saskatchewan; Routes
CloudSat USA NASA 2006 Radar components COM DEV
Herschel Europe ESA 2009 HIFI Local Oscillator Source Unit COM DEV

Canadian astronauts

Nine Canadians have participated in 14 NASA manned missions and three Soyuz ones:

Name Launch
Mission Launch date Notes
Marc Garneau Challenger STS-41-G 1984, October 5 First Canadian in space
Roberta Bondar Discovery STS-42 1992, January 22 First Canadian woman in space
Steven MacLean Columbia STS-52 1992, October 22
Chris Hadfield Atlantis STS-74 1995, November 12 Only Canadian to visit Mir
Marc Garneau Endeavour STS-77 1996, May 19 First Canadian to return to space
Robert Thirsk Columbia STS-78 1996, June 20
Bjarni Tryggvason Discovery STS-85 1997, August 7
Dafydd Williams Columbia STS-90 1998, April 17
Julie Payette Discovery STS-96 1999, May 27 First Canadian to visit the International Space Station
Marc Garneau Endeavour STS-97 2000, November 30 ISS mission. Return to space (third visit)
Chris Hadfield Endeavour STS-100 2001, April 19 ISS mission. Return to space (second visit). First spacewalk by a Canadian
Steven MacLean Atlantis STS-115 2006, September 9 ISS mission. Return to space (second visit); spacewalk
Dafydd Williams Endeavour STS-118 2007, August 27 ISS mission. Return to space (second visit); spacewalk
Robert Thirsk Soyuz-FG Soyuz TMA-15 (Союз ТМА-15) 2009, May 27 ISS Expedition 20 and Expedition 21. Return to space (second visit). First flight on a Russian launch vehicle by a Canadian. First Canadian on a permanent ISS crew. First time two Canadians were in space simultaneously (with Payette)
Julie Payette Endeavour STS-127 2009, July 15 ISS mission. First Canadian woman to return to space. First time two Canadians were in space simultaneously (with Thirsk). Largest gathering of humans (13) in space, as seven STS-127 arrivals join 6 already on ISS. Largest gathering (5) of nationalities in space, as USA, Russia, Japan, Canada, and Belgium have astronauts together on ISS. Last Canadian to fly on a US Space Shuttle.
Guy Laliberté Soyuz Soyuz TMA-16 (Союз ТМА-16) 2009, September 30 First Canadian space tourist
Chris Hadfield Soyuz-FG Soyuz TMA-07M (Союз ТМА-07M) 2012, December 19 ISS Expedition 34 and Expedition 35. Return to space (third visit). First Canadian Commander of a permanent ISS crew

On December 19, 2012, Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to reach the International Space Station where he worked for six months as part of the crew of the ISS Expedition 34 and Expedition 35. During the second half of his mission Hadfield became the first Canadian Commander of the ISS. In addition to overseeing operations as Commander, he carried out scientific experiments, operated Canadarm2 and performed various robotics tasks.[21] This mission marked the last space flight opportunity for Canadian astronauts, provided by NASA as "compensation" for Canada's contribution to the Shuttle and International Space Station programs. After this mission, the CSA will have to pay NASA for any flights for Canadian astronauts. There is at present no funding for further missions by Canadian astronauts.[22]

Two former Canadian astronauts never flew in space; Michael McKay resigned due to medical reasons and Ken Money resigned in 1992, eight years after his selection.


A number of foreign launch facilities have been used by the CSA to launch their payload:

Future programs

With the successful launching of Radarsat-2 in December 2007 and near completion of Canada's C$1.4 billion contribution to the ISS the agency in early 2008 found itself with no major follow-on projects. This fact was highlighted by Marc Garneau, Canada's first astronaut and former head of the CSA who in the fall of 2007 called upon the Canadian government to develop and institute a space policy for Canada.

A modest step has been taken to resolve this problem. In November 2008, the Agency signed a $40 million 16-month contract with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates of Vancouver to begin the design of the RADARSAT Constellation (3 satellite) earth observation mission.[23] In August 2010 further funding was awarded for detailed design work scheduled for completion by 2012. Launch of the three satellites is scheduled for 2018. Also in the 2009 Federal budget, the agency was awarded funding for the preliminary design of robotic Lunar/Martian rovers.[24]

However, a number of initiatives are without funding. The CSA is the lead agency for the Polar Communication and Weather mission (PCW) which involves the planned launch of two satellites in polar orbit to provide Canadian authorities with improved weather information and communications capabilities in the high arctic.[25] Launch of the two satellites is proposed to take place in 2016. Funding for further development of the mission has yet to be approved.[26]


The Canadian Space agency has no indigenous launch system capability beyond upper atmospheric sounding rockets.[23][27] Canada relies on other countries, such as the U.S., India and Russia, to launch its spacecraft into orbit, but both the Defence Department and the space agency are looking at the option of constructing a Canadian-made launcher.[27][28]

The CSA has been researching locations in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Fort Churchill, Manitoba, for a possible micro satellites (150 kg) launch site for the CSA,[28] and end its reliance on foreign launch providers. However, Canadian politicians seldom change funding without having at least some idea of the expected economic, social and national defense benefits that could reasonably accrue to their constituents from the program.[23][29] According to Canadian Space Agency officials, it would take 10 to 12 years for a full-scale project to design and build a small satellite launcher.[23] There is no funding for these activities yet.[30]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "THE CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY 2013–14 Departmental Performance Report" (PDF). 2015. 
  2. ^ "PM announces changes in the senior ranks of the Public Service". Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ Andrew B. Godefroy. Defence & Discovery: Canada's Military Space Program, 1945–1974. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-7748-1959-6
  4. ^ Andrew B. Godefroy. Defence & Discovery: Canada's Military Space Program, 1945–1974. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-7748-1959-6, chapters 2–6.
  5. ^ "Canadian Space Agency Act". Department of Justice. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  6. ^ "(John) Larkin Kerwin". GCS Research Society. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  7. ^ Canadian Space Milestones - Canadian Space Agency. Retrieved on 2013-08-21.
  8. ^ [1] History of the Canadian Astronaut Corps. Retrieved on 2014-05-04
  9. ^ Steve MacLean annonce son départ de l'Agence spatiale canadienne - Agence spatiale canadienne. (2013-01-15). Retrieved on 2013-08-21.
  10. ^ "Luc Brûlé, Interim President, Canadian Space Agency". 
  11. ^ "PM announces a change in the senior ranks of the Public Service". 
  12. ^ a b c Dotto, Lydia (May 2002). Canada and The European Space Agency: Three Decades of Cooperation (PDF). European Space Agency. 
  13. ^ a b c "ESA and Canada renew partnership in space science and technology". European Space Agency. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  14. ^ "History of the Canadian Astronaut Corps". Canadian Space Agency. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  15. ^ "RADARSAT-1: Seventeen Years of Technological Success" (Press release). Canadian Space Agency. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  16. ^ a b c Indian rocket launches asteroid hunter, 6 other satellites - NBC (2013-02-25). Retrieved on 2013-08-21.
  17. ^ SSTL's 40th satellite platform launch: Sapphire reaches orbit. Retrieved on 2013-08-21.
  18. ^ Canada Stays at the Forefront of Space Telescope Technology with the Launch of New Surveillance Satellite - Canadian Space Agency. (2013-02-25). Retrieved on 2013-08-21.
  19. ^ Foust, Jeff (2013-03-27). "After Dragon, SpaceX’s focus returns to Falcon". NewSpace Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  20. ^ Graham, Will. "SpaceX successfully launches debut Falcon 9 v1.1". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Chris Hadfield Astronaut Mission – Expedition 34/35". Canadian Space Agency. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  22. ^ Black, Chuck (December 29, 2010). "This Week in Space for Canada". Space Ref Canada. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  23. ^ a b c d Boucher, Marc (4 January 2011). "Is Canadian Sovereignty at Risk by a Lack of an Indigenous Satellite Launch Capability?". Space Ref Canada. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  24. ^ "2009 Canadian Federal Budget". Government of Canada. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  25. ^ "Polar Communication and Weather mission (PCW)". Canadian Space Agency. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  26. ^ Garand, Louis; Trishchenko, Alexander P. (July 9, 2010). "Polar Communications & Weather (PCW) Mission" (PDF). THORPEX DAOS Working Group (Environment Canada). Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  27. ^ a b Boucher, Marc (14 December 2009). "A Rocket to Call Our Own? Canadian Space Agency Explores the Business Case". Space Ref Canada. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  28. ^ a b "Space Agency, DND Seek to Launch Rockets for Canada". University of Toronto. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  29. ^ Black, Chuck. "Advocating DND & CSA Rockets". The Commercial Space Blog. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  30. ^ "Space agency eyes Cape Breton for satellite launch". CTV News. Canadian Press. March 28, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 

Further reading

External links