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Canadian Space Society Annual Summit 2017 – Day 2

I attended the Canadian Space Summit 2017 in Ottawa Canada on November 21 and 22. The following posts are my rough notes. Disclaimer: I jotted down what I understood but I am likely to get names, comments, and some information wrong. Please contact me if you feel I have misquoted you or otherwise misstated some of the conversations, and I will be happy to set the record straight. You can read my overall impression of the summit here, as well as my Day 1 notes here.

Keynote Speaker – Sylvain Laporte, Canadian Space Agency

  • Sylvain Laporte is the President of the Canadian Space Agency
  • He spoke about CSA achievements and priorities, including deep space exploration
    • Cislunar space: Why the moon? Things still to learn about the moon, the Earth, and living in space.
    • Canada is getting ready: Rovers, robotics, innovative ideas
  • An upcoming medical conference will look at how Canada could contribute some medical capabilities to future missions to Moon and Mars.
  • STEM Outreach – to encourage young people to go into STEM fields, using our Astronauts. “You should see young eyes light up when an astronaut in a flight suit walks into a gym”. Big positive feelings and some learning to make big impacts on children that will hopefully lead them to choose career in STEM field. He said 100 activities in last year reached about 20,000 people.
  • He says CSA used hiring of new astronauts to showcase to the public how talented Canadians are. CSA knew exceptional individuals would apply. When down to 70 applicants, their bios were posted on their website. CSA wanted to instill a sense of pride in Canadians, and heard that these candidates were role models to young people. Led to lots of media coverage and social media contacts. So without paying for any publicity – all through 100% social media, they achieved 22M impressions on social media.
  • Space is evolving: Faster, cheaper, easier.
  • CSA has adapted too. They have put together 5 communities in various fields with objective of making sure CSA is understanding of what is out there, through eyes and ears of specialists in those fields. Regular meetings to make sure CSA is open, engaged, and receptive to new ideas. Also looking at modernizing processes.
  • STDP Modernization – R&D program where companies and universities can get funding to do Space Technology Development Program. Now collaborating with industry to form 6 or 7 working groups on a number of subjects to modernize R&D program. Some improvements: subject matter experts say it is hard to compete with large companies, so they wanted access to their own funding pool. Now some non-space companies are starting to apply which is ground-breaking.
  • Developing skills: For last 2 years, CSA has run national conferences and competitions to eventually present a paper at the IAC conferences. Helps hone their skills and networking abilities. Then try to do match-making exercise to help them get employment opportunity at the CSA (summer job, co-op).
  • Cubesat program – with university, goal is to fly a nanosat from each province and territory (13 of them). Plan to launch each nano-sat in 2019. The students will see something they built fly into space. Binding emotional attachment with knowledge. There for life.
  • CSA contributing to state of the art missions: James Webb space telescope (the 2 most critical components – fine guidance system) and OSIRIS-Rex (laser altimeter).
  • Future is closer than we think. Next Canadian in space is David St-Jacques.
  • RADARSAT constellation mission launches in 2018.
  • Continually modernizing agency, outreach to universities. Dynamic, exciting, at the leading edge of science. CSA is both a developer and a consumer of disruptive technologies.
  • Q: In next budget request, will you be asking for dedicated outreach budget request. A: CSA has found the funds, and will continue to dedicate funds from our current budget.
  • Q: With so many creative ideas being submitted, will those be published? A: Clearly those ideas we want to pursue will be fully public as part of a RFP process. Otherwise, for those ideas not chosen, he is not sure if there are privacy elements restricting publication – he will check up on that. In terms of time frame, right now they are in the middle of a selection process, but likely mid-2018 as purely a guess.
  • Q: About CSA public outreach – will there be opportunities for universities to participate. A: Yes, public outreach won’t just be from CSA. Quite a lot of collaborative efforts with not-for-profits, and universities.
Carleton University students with their rover "Sparky"

Carleton University students with their rover “Sparky” (named after a minor electrical incident)

Plenary Speaker – Dr Gordon Osinski, University of Western Ontario

  • Dr Gordon Osinski, a geology teacher from the University of Western Ontario, spoke about the Benefits of investing in Canadian Space Exploration
  • Why space exploration vs Earth observation?
  • Canadian university grads are leaving the country – Brain Drain.
  • Why we explore:
    • Because it is there
    • international collaboration
    • new technology
    • answer the big questions
    • inspiration, the economy
    • perspective
    • long-term survival
    • protecting and understanding our world.
  • Proposal for Canada to contribute to an ice sounding radar to the NeMO missing to scan MARS upper surface of regolith to pinpoint water-ice deposits.
  • Canada $1.6 B in 2016 of mineral exploration investments. Canada major mining and resource extraction nation.
  • But significant expenses for Arctic exploration:
    • Length travel times
    • Difficult logistics
    • Short summer for operations.
  • Dr. Oz is on Canada’s Space Advisory Board: “What we heard” during consultations.
    • Strengthen world-class Canadian capabilities
    • Outreach and education programs for Canadians
  • Possible routes for outreach: Yuri’s Nights, Scientist in Residence, Western Worlds podcast, International Observe the Moon Night, World Space Week. Summer Space Camp.
  • He ended by saying: Let’s tell the story of Canada in space!

Missions and Programs Session

UrtheCast presentation at Missions and Programs

UrtheCast presentation at Missions and Programs

  • Presenters were Dave McCabe, Senior Customer Business Manager, Space Systems, Honeywell Aerospace; Larry Reeves, President, Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society, also with UrtheCast; and Vibooshon Sriskanda, Aerospace Student, CubeSat Team of Carleton University.
  • The panel started with a Honeywell presentation on Canada’s technological achievements since the 1950’s and 1960’s.
  • Larry Reeves from UrtheCast then talked about how UrtheCast went into Earth Observation role which is rapidly evolving and growing
  • UrtheCast has 250 people, 100 are with Deimos Imaging (from Spain).
  • Planned future satellite constellations:
    • UrtheDaily: 6 satellites all optimized for daily 360-km swathe in sun-synchronous orbit collecting consistent, reliable, and daily coverage of Earth’s landmasses (minus Antartica and Greenland)
  • Unfortunately I was only able to catch part of the session.

That’s it for my Day 2 notes, which are more episodic than on Day 1, since I had to leave at noon.

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