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Friday, October 19 • 1:20pm - 1:45pm
Grassroots Aerospace Innovation and the Canadian Rocket Innovation Challenge

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Many people think of innovation as coming from either industry or academia, but from Robert Goddard to Wernher von Braun to many of today’s leading rocket entrepreneurs, the history of aerospace has in fact been shaped by people who began as amateurs. Countries that recognize and support this grassroots talent and create an ecosystem in which it can thrive can harness an unmatched drive and passion to learn and innovate, at very little cost, and this has been proven time and time again.

Here in Canada, there is an unprecedented surge of grassroots interest in rocketry, particularly among students. The space launch industry is changing rapidly, driven by game-changing companies like SpaceX and RocketLab, and Canadians want to be a part of it. There are now almost 20 student rocket teams across the country, many of them undertaking cutting-edge sounding rocket work, and regularly winning a disproportionate number of the top honours at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), a major rocket competition in the United States.

Yet many of them face a relative lack of support in Canada. They currently have few options to pursue their rocketry work at home, and few avenues available for support. Moreover, Canadian teams that develop their own propulsion systems typically don’t even have the ability to launch their rockets here due to the un-supportive regulatory environment and a lack of places from which to fly. All too often, these exceptionally bright, motivated Canadians have no choice but to either abandon their passion, or leave the country. In an increasingly competitive high-tech economy, Canada cannot afford to keep losing this talent.

With the seed funding of several private donors, a new effort is underway to help change this. To help Canada’s rocket innovators to pursue their activities, collaborate, learn and thrive, we are creating Canada’s first-ever rocketry competition. Using an incentive prize model, this competition will for the first time bring together Canada’s rocketry community from coast to coast with cash prizes to incentivize the development of significant rocket propulsion and launch vehicle technologies with a bold, entrepreneurial mindset. It will help develop a pipeline of highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced aerospace professionals through challenging hands-on rocket engineering projects and will use the excitement of rocketry to promote STEM education. The competition aims to become a recurring event that will elevate the profile of rocketry in Canada, and amateur rocketry in particular, provide a highly visible showcase of Canadian exceptionalism, and help to create an environment where talented and motivated individuals and teams are supported in their efforts to dare great things.

avatar for Adam Trumpour

Adam Trumpour

President, Launch Canada Rocketry Association
Adam is a rocket and gas turbine propulsion professional with broad involvement in the industry. He is a turbine engine concept designer at Pratt & Whitney Canada and a founding partner of Continuum Aerospace, a small company devoted to engineering consulting and developing innovative... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 1:20pm - 1:45pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Launch Capability