So much has changed since then.
The tempo of space exploration and missions has dramatically increased, driven in part by New Space companies (non-traditional, non-government space participants) which have made amazing advancements (some of which you can see celebrated right here). It’s now a given that private companies can be key participants in even the most complicated space missions.
With that in mind, the Canadian Space Society dedicated the theme of this year’s summit, held in Ottawa on Nov 21 and 22, to “Canada’s Next Space Generation”, which:
“…will speak to Canada’s future in space and provide a spotlight on the up-and-coming leaders of Canada’s space sector. By highlighting the next generation of industry leaders, space engineers, scientists, and astronauts, the CSS Summit will explore the changing nature of the global space industry and the evolving nature of how we incorporate space into our daily lives.
In Canada (and especially in Ottawa), we have a long-established and powerful traditional space industry, mainly geared toward satellites, robotics, and telecommunications. Nothing wrong with that – it’s a source of national pride and economic strength – but it leaves Canada a bit light when it comes to these new trends, since a lot of time and money is focused on the established Canadian players.
We did hear from a few New Space companies such as Ottawa’s Mission Control Space Services and Vancouver’s UrtheCast (which I’ve blogged about here and here). It will be important in future years to hear directly from students, NASA space apps hackathon participants, and perhaps a virtual panel can be arranged with New Space startups from around the world so we can get some “outsider” perspectives.
On a personal level, I have become much more familiar with the space industry in Canada, and the people in it. At this year’s summit I saw many familiar faces, including organizers Minh On, and Ryan Anderson (who I worked with on Ottawa’s inaugural NASA Space Apps Hackathon this year).
I was pretty keen to attend – Ryan informed me I was registrant # 001 🙂 Unfortunately, although I had tried to free up my schedule, various client meetings and work engagements kept pulling me away from the two-day event, which was held at Ottawa University’s Tabaret Hall. However, I’ve posted some rough notes from Day 1 and Day 2. You can read more about the summit, and the CSS, here.
My overall impressions were very positive – I very much enjoyed the event, as I expected to. There were plenty of presenters, it was informative, a great source of networking, and the space community is small but enthusiastic. The main takeaway from everyone was how radically things are changing in the space industry.