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Friday, October 19 • 2:15pm - 3:15pm
[SGAC: #NextGen Canada] Aligning Canada with International Partners for the Advancement of Space Exploration

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In recent years, decadal surveys regularly administered by NASA and the US Congress have been used to forecast key priorities for scientific missions. The preceding National Research Council’s Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010) designated the WFIRST mission as the top priority from the scientific community, echoed by the Canadian astronomy community as well. Canada recently retracted from its commitment to this major international space project due to a lack of funding for space programs.

When solicited for interest in participation, Canada gets on board but then lacks the sustainability at a transitional point of commitment. Such endeavors are not only critical to space exploration, but also for the development of an inter-generational workforce and the scholarly advancements in space astronomy (for which the country is renowned for). The lack of a mechanism to ensure a firm engagement when a project is finally greenlit demonstrates an institutional void: the Canadian space program simply cannot rely solely on ad hoc measures and yearly budget allocations. As a result, Canada had to renege on its potential contributions to the WFIRST mission, which subsequently led to repercussions on multiple fronts. Canada would have provided key instruments that now have to be descoped from the project. Furthermore, Canada has already invested in Phase 0 studies for these technologies, roughly $3.1-million. The considerable expertise development and possible “HQP-drain” are equally important losses.

A support infrastructure to foster future collaborations requires a firm acknowledgement from the government, both financially and institutionally. This is highly prevalent as NASA steers its focus to a cislunar station with its international partners, including the CSA. There may be a future where Canada is no longer a central player at the table of major space faring nations and may even lose out on future economic outputs of the space industry. The steady retraction of Canada’s involvement in international space missions is in stark opposition to the spirit of the nation’s space pioneers, who held grand visions for the country’s role in shaping humankind’s frontier in space. Moreover, Canada stands to lose its prominence in the G7 group and its heritage as well: the third country in Space, after the Soviet Union and the US. There remains an important impetus on all members of the industry to highlight the comprehensive benefits of space exploration and its multi-dimensionality; in other words, its benefits to the economy, to Canadians and to Canada’s standing internationally.

Panel as part of the track entitled "SGAC: #NextGen Canada" - Developed by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).

avatar for Zaid Rana

Zaid Rana

Junior Program Scientist, Canadian Space Agency | SGAC

avatar for Dr. Alain Berinstain

Dr. Alain Berinstain

VP Global Development, Moon Express Inc
Alain Berinstain was born and raised in Montreal and worked at the Canadian Space Agency for 17 years. Among other responsibilities, he was Director of Planetary Exploration and Space Astronomy as well as Director of Science and Academic Development at CSA. He now is now Vice President... Read More →
avatar for Dr. René Doyon

Dr. René Doyon

Director, Institute for Research on exoplanets
René Doyon obtained his PhD in astrophysics from the Imperial College of Science, Technologyand Medecine in 1990. He is full professor at the physics Department of the Université deMontréal, Director of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets and Mont-Mégantic Observatory.His... Read More →
avatar for Mike Greenley

Mike Greenley

Group President, MDA - Maxar Technologies
Mike Greenley is the Group President of MDA, a Maxar Technologies company and internationally recognized leader in advanced radar satellite systems and infrastructure, ground systems, space robotics and sensors, satellite antennas, electronics and payloads, surveillance and intelligence... Read More →
avatar for Gilles Leclerc

Gilles Leclerc

Director General, Space Exploration, Canadian Space Agency
Gilles Leclerc joined the Canadian Space Agency in 1989. He gained experience as project engineer, manager and then Director in a variety of technology development, satellite communications and international space programs. Between 1997 and 2000, Mr. Leclerc was posted at the Canadian... Read More →
avatar for Ewan Reid

Ewan Reid

President and CEO, Mission Control Space Services
Ewan Reid is the President and CEO of Mission Control Space Services Inc. a Canadian Space Exploration and Robotics company with a focus on spacecraft operations, onboard autonomy and artificial intelligence.  Prior to founding Mission Control Ewan held several positions at Neptec... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1