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Not technical [clear filter]
Thursday, October 18

9:00am EDT

Opening Ceremony
Montreal Student Space Associations - Alienor Lougerstay
Opening and Introduction to the Montreal Space Symposium

Concordia University - Marius Paraschivoiu 
Next generation design and engineering

McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering - D. Arun Misra
An Overview of the Space Research Activities at McGill

avatar for Dr. Arun Misra

Dr. Arun Misra

Professor and Associate Director, McGill Institute of Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Arun K. Misra is the Thomas Workman Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McGill University. He teaches several courses in the area of dynamics, including a course on spacecraft dynamics. His research interests lie in the areas of satellite dynamics and control... Read More →
avatar for Mavesa Nguyen

Mavesa Nguyen

Montreal Space Symposium Coordinator, MSSA

Marius Paraschivoiu

ENCS Associate Dean and former education director of CIADI, Concordia University

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:00am - 9:30am EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

9:30am EDT

The space commons versus the clever use of flags (and corporate logos)
By all accounts, space exploration is undergoing a new phase. Plans are being made for the most ambitious space projects since the Apollo era. Space exploration, tourism, privatisation, colonisation, are back on the table. Government agencies and private companies vie for achievements to exceed those of past space races. As speculation and utopia ramp up, new questions arise as to the social and ethical dimensions of this new effort.
This talk addresses the matter of space as commons, that is, as something to be shared and managed in a participatory and equitable manner. Past treaties presented space as a common heritage of humankind, but geostrategic concerns often superseded that notion, and national flags unfurled in the vacuum. Under what conditions can space exploration be inclusive, as this Symposium proposes? How can resources be ethically allocated, in light of the technological and resource limitations on Earth? To whom would new findings? What notion of “common good” should we apply?
A famous article by G. Hardin in 1968 discussed “the tragedy of the commons” on Earth, pointing out that resources are prone to be abused in systems of common property. Private management would be preferable and more attractive as resources become scarce. Elinor Ostrom, in contrast, found that traditional management of the commons often achieves durable sustainability. This talk addresses that debate and places it in the cosmos.

avatar for Dr. Artur de Matos Alves

Dr. Artur de Matos Alves

Assistant Professor, TELUQ, Université du Québec
Artur de Matos Alves is Assistant Professor at TELUQ, Université du Québec. His main interests revolve around philosophy and ethics of technology, emerging technologies, and communication.

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Social Sciences, Ethics

9:30am EDT

Bringing Astronomy Alive - Student Engagement at John Abbott College
Traditional approaches in Introductory Astronomy use a historical evolution of information with relatively static learning outcomes. Part of the reason for this pedagogy is the diverse (typically limited) Astronomy backgrounds of students at the post-secondary level, from no prior exposure (aside from Primary and Secondary curriculum) to budding Astronomers, Astrophysicists and Aerospace Engineers. The role of these courses is typically to share basic information and skills, but often lacks focus on the possibilities (scientifically and career-wise), so that students who have an affinity for space sciences have a starting point to leap onto a career path. Actual observing opportunities, and self-directed learning are valuable tools to engage students directly in areas of interest, and bring Astronomy and Space Sciences alive...moving beyond the classroom.

The approach in our course at John Abbott College puts the depth and direction of content in the hands of the students. Recognizing that, in the digital and social media age most students have some exposure to recent discoveries, and more importantly they have access to information and current data that better represents the direction of space science they will experience, this allows each student to put their stamp on the learning outcomes of the course. Combining this with regular (weather pending), non-compulsory observing opportunities with RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) - Montreal Centre allows students to embrace the field in a manner that suits their interests and motivation. This has resulted in incredibly diverse term projects, and several initiatives that have moved beyond the scope of the Introductory Astronomy Course, but are being supported through other avenues to foster student engagement. As well, other departments and courses are now taking advantage of the Astronomy activities to engage their students beyond the classroom.

This talk will give an overview of the course setup, a sampling of the student projects and the multi-disciplinary initiatives, and describe some of the student engagement that has moved beyond the scope of the course.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

9:50am EDT

What Michel Foucault can tell us about private ownership in and appropriation of celestial bodies
Since the dawn of civilization, humans from all over the world, guided by the primordial need to explore, have spun tales of space travel. Yet, despite all the stories of celestial adventures and the eons of desiring to know and reach for the moon and beyond, it has only been in the past few decades that people have spoken of privately owning and appropriating celestial bodies. The discussion around this relatively young notion grows in crescendo daily and yet it leaves little room for reflecting critically on the causes and potential effects of this newfound fascination with celestial ownership. One may find reasonable the lack of any such reflection in the technological, political and economic fields that -rightfully so- concern themselves with the practical side of space use and exploration. Where this lack becomes troubling however, is in the existing literature on space law, which, while greatly concerned with the legality of private ownership in and appropriation of celestial bodies and their resources, rarely includes in depth discussion on the nature of property and its connection with power -not just economic or political power- over people. It is this gap that this presentation will address and endeavour to fill.

As space becomes more accessible and the need for clear international laws increases, conducting such a critical analysis is imperative. After all, our effort to ‘bring space down to earth’ will not be successful if we forget to first bring to this new domain what we have learned in our time on earth. One of the things we have learned when it comes to private property and appropriation rights in land is that all too often they have been used as a tool of disenfranchisement and oppression. In turn, through the use of the theories on power, especially as it relates to private property, posited by French philosopher Michel Foucault and his intellectual descendants, we can apply this knowledge to the celestial domain. To do so, this presentation will provide an analysis of the most popular justifications given by academics from various fields, politicians and private companies in favor of the establishment of exclusionary rights in celestial bodies. By analysing the language used in these arguments and the notions they promote as evident and undisputable, it will be shown that the concept of property and appropriation championed by the proponents of these rights is a familiar technology of power. This technology has previously been used to promote narratives such as that of the American Frontier; narratives that have historically perpetuated the unequal treatment of some parts of the populace and the exercise of oppressive power. It is on the basis of that observation that this work will posit that if the use and exploration of space is to truly be the province of all mankind and for the benefit of all peoples, a new notion of property must be constructed before we can continue taking giants leaps beyond our homeworld.


Georgia Psarrou

LLM Student, Institute of Air & Space Law (IASL), McGill University
Georgia Psarrou is a Masters student at the McGill Institute of Air & Space Law. Early on in her undergraduate studies in law at the University of Sussex she developed a great interest in researching the ways power can operate through legal instruments to serve the interests of States... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:50am - 10:10am EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Social Sciences, Ethics

9:50am EDT

Arts and Science and Space
I will discuss how I used the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library as a forum for College level students to explore ideas for self directed research culminating in a work of art. I will give a brief summary of how contemporary artists are incorporating current space research into their artistic investigations. I will then provide examples of student projects from the 2018 John Abbott College Arts and Science Studio Art course that gave SPACE as the thematic to be explored through a visual means. Students used sound, video, drawing, painting and sculpture to create projects that were inspired by material located in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library housed at John Abbott College in Montreal. The purpose of the project was to allow students to examine concepts of space in a very personal and creative manner. The presentation will provide examples of how very complex ideas around space can be experienced and relayed through visual means. I will provide a selection of 5 examples from the student projects using slide presentations in order to present a range of outcomes submitted for the course. Examples from my own studio practice will also be given to contextualize the project. This presentation will expose participants to how the arts and sciences are being bridged within the visual arts and how creativity, imagination, and exploration can be used to create independent works of art based on the vast and complex topic of space.

avatar for Sheila Nadimi

Sheila Nadimi

Professor, John Abbott College
I am a faculty member within the Visual Arts Department of John Abbott College. John Abbott College initiated an Arts and Science program in 2008 and I was responsible for developing the studio art component for this program. I am a visual artist with an interest in the intersection... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:50am - 10:10am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

10:10am EDT

Legal Aspects of Space Geoengineering
Space geoengineering consists of intentionally deploying means to deviate the Sun’s heat in space. This technique has been identified as one among the few options that would allow the international community to ”buy precious time” against global warming (one of the most problematic consequences of climate change) by halting and reducing it. In fact, because geoengineering alone is not a solution to the various effects of climate change, this acquired time would allow the international community to discuss and agree on more effective and durable climate change mitigation measures. Of the many ways of deviating the Sun’s heat through space geoengineering, three have been identified as feasible. 1) Placing orbiting reflectors in the Earth’s orbit, which would however create significant orbital debris hazards. 2) Placing clouds of dust grains at the stable Earth-Moon triangular Lagrange points, solution which would nevertheless work for only a relatively short period each month, when those clouds would be between the Earth and the Sun. 3) Creating a station of some large (or many small) occulting discs close to the Sun-Earth Lagrange equilibrium point. This third method, which has been identified as the most effective and less risky, contemplates the possibility of fabricating parts of the station in-orbit by using outer space resources. The study explores which legal consequences arise, under current international space law from a possible space geoengineering deployment, especially if this would result from the unilateral decision of a country. Space geoengineering, in fact, will likely have climate effects affecting all countries, even if one single state decides to deploy it for its own benefit. Space law principles such as those of common interest, freedom and non-appropriation and other international law principles such as those of non-interference and cooperation are critically analyzed against such a usage of outer space. The study also provides a comparative analysis of the international space law provisions that seem to hinder such space application versus those which, on the contrary, could stimulate it. Last but not least, a critical assessment is made of the liabilities and responsibilities that states could encounter under international space law in the case of space geoengineering deployment. In its conclusion, the study explores whether the current corpus juris spatialis is suitable for future space geoengineering activities and what are the desirable changes it should eventually undertake.


Ermanno Napolitano

PhD (DCL) Student, McGill University - Institute of Air and Space Law
Ermanno has a strong passion for aerospace law. He is particularly interested in governmental regulation of space activities. Through his work he seeks to provide arguments and foundations for the development of appropriate national space laws and policies to foster the growth of... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 10:10am - 10:30am EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Social Sciences, Ethics

10:10am EDT

STEM Education with the KickSat Sprite: Practicum in the Developing World
Sprites are picosatellites, already flown on several real missions (KickSat 1, Latvia's Venta, Italy's Max Valier) and manifested for KickSat 2, expected to launch in late 2018 or early 2018. Sprites can be programmed using Arduino. As satellites, in their design and operation, studying how they work can clarify the more counter-intuitive aspects of the space environment and some of the technology used to cope with, and make use of, that environment. By way of the Sprite's low cost, tiny scale, and open source design, there seems to be great promise for introducing students in the developing world to the rudiments of physics, electronics, communications theory and software engineering, in middle schools and high schools.

Recent educational psychology research suggests that certain mental capacities related to visual imagination are stoked by the exposure to physics. As well, research into project-oriented education suggests that lessons are learned better when students must organize themselves to make real things. Is the combination synergistic? And can that combination work in developing-world, with its lower education budgets, lower standards, and added stresses on the student?

Project Persephone's approach to using the Sprite in STEM education is based on lesson plans in which the students take part in planning the exercise of the Sprite in various simulated environments, using equipment and materials that students can construct, from components that are affordable in their regions. It is expected that the learning value of this extended, hands-on, project-based approach, with its strong emphasis on revealing physical principles, will not only greatly exceed the learning value of passively-consumed illustrations and demonstrations, but also signficantly exceed the learning value of simple hands-on exercises of the Sprite's (admittedly very limited) capabilities.

avatar for Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Executive Director, Project Persephone
I am leading a non-governmental, non-profit space program that has a strong emphasis on bringing the benefits of space development to equatorial mountain regions.

Thursday October 18, 2018 10:10am - 10:30am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:00am EDT

Converging Art and Astronomy: New Perspectives on Lunar Nomenclature and Exoplanet Research
Artist, gallerist, and art-science researcher Bettina Forget will talk about her project Women With Impact, a series of drawings of Moon craters which are named after women, and her work as artist-in-residence at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory.

The project Women With Impact is a response to the underrepresentation of women in the historical record in the field of science. Out of the 1,605 named craters on the lunar surface, 29 are named after women – that is a meager 1.8%. To highlight this issue, Bettina Forget decided to research the locations of the lunar craters named after women using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. After capturing the most detailed images of the craters possible, she created a series of 29 drawings on paper.
A crater is essentially a void, a hollow in the regolith. The void echoes the underrepresentation of women in positions of power, in the scientific canon, and in history. The void also speaks to its opposite: each crater is a result of an impact, a shattering of the calm surface. The 29 women who made such an impact are thrown into full relief with each drawing.
The series Women With Impact fuses the aesthetics of drawing with a socio-political perspective and selenographic research to create a project which bridges art and science.

For her artist residency at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, Exoplanet Zoo proposed to create a taxonomy of exoplanets in sculptural form with the use of 3D printing technology. To create the collection of exoplanet prints, data sets associated with exoplanets were integrated into the source code of a 3D model of a plain sphere, generating a variety of exoplanet “species.” The exoplanet’s data sets include information regarding the planet’s size, mass, inclination, distance from the host star, rotation period, atmospheric composition, etc. The 3D printed sculptures blur the boundaries between organic and inorganic forms, referencing seeds, cells, and diatoms as well as geometric, crystalline structures. As such, the artworks create a link to astrobiology and ponder the possibility of life in the universe. The menagerie of sculptures makes the variances and characters of exoplanet tangible, and explore a variety of classification options.

avatar for Bettina Forget

Bettina Forget

President, Visual Voice Gallery
Bettina Forget is a gallery owner, art educator, visual artist, and art/science researcher living and working in Montreal, Canada. Bettina owns and runs Visual Voice Gallery, which presents contemporary art exhibitions that create a dialogue between art and science. Since 2016 Bettina... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:20am EDT

100 Times Around the Sun - RASC Montreal Centre in 2018
This year, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is celebrating its Sesquicentennial Anniversary, growing from one centre in Toronto to 29 centres across Canada. The Montreal Centre was founded in 1918, and having experienced 100 orbits around our Sun the club has a rich and storied history in Montreal.
Over the past decade, the RASC - Montreal Centre has been revitalized through partnerships with McGill University and John Abbott College. The club now has a healthy membership over 160 and offers an Observatory at the Morgan Arboretum with a 14"" Casgrain Schmidt telescope, an Astronomy Library at John Abbott College with a collection spanning over a century, and hosts monthly public events (using either location as appropriate) throughout the year. Groups can also arrange for exclusive viewing nights - often organized for Scouts, Guides, Camps and the Starlight Foundation. The Centre maintains a Dark Sky site an hour south of Montreal, with a 16"" dobsonian telescope for member use, and other dark sky outings are organized throughout the observing season.
There's a beauty to the night sky that must be seen to be truly understood. As part of its mission, the RASC - Montreal Centre creates a welcoming environment for all who wish to learn about or pursue the hobby of observational Astronomy. In addition to an overview of the Centre's history, this talk will describe the current offerings of the club which can benefit students of the night sky...Bringing Space Down to Earth.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →
avatar for Morrie Portnoff

Morrie Portnoff

President, RASC, Montreal Centre
I have been the President of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for the past 5 years. Prior that that I was the Treasurer for for 2 years as well as the Editor of the Centre's newsletter, Skyward. Observing the night sky is a passion which I love to share... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Awareness, Outreach

11:40am EDT

Space Incorporated: The Next Big Disruption. Are We Ready?
Our participation in the symposium intends to support its main topic and to complement other speakers contribution. We will take the audience in an endeavour to discover the new technologies of the commercial space industry, through our efforts in producing a documentary that will help us learn, explore, study and witness the industry's democratization and potential impact on humanity. The film presents a variety of points of view including voices for and critical of the commercial space industry, and shows the regulatory work that has been done and is currently being done (internationally) to make it a sustainable activity. It consist of a series of interviews with experts from the aerospace industry including lawyers, artists, environmentalists and astronauts, to listen their personal opinion and their expectations of technologies such as Space Transportation and Tourism (transportation of supplies, experiments, technology and satellites, human spaceflight, supersonic point-to-point travel and space hotels) Outer Space Mining (extraction of water and rare metals from asteroids, the Moon and Mars), and Permanent Human Settlements (on Mars, the Moon and Earth's orbits). Its objective is to create awareness and educate civil society, governments and the industry on the challenges, opportunities and risks of these technologies. We aim to reduce the unfamiliarity that surrounds the commercial space industry, and to promote a debate on a variety of areas such as legal, economic, environmental, social and scientific. We are at the dawn of disrupting technologies that could change the way we live in the same way aviation changed our world in one hundred years. This is a great opportunity to learn, explore, study and witness how Space Transportation and Tourism, Outer Space Mining and Permanent Human Settlements will democratize space, will make us an interplanetary species, will change our perception of ourselves and of Earth, and our relationship with our planet and other celestial bodies.


Daniel Alvarez

Co-producer, Space Incorporated
Felipe Almeida - Documental photographer and senior Ph.D. candidate at HEC Montreal in human behaviour and consumerism. Andras Töth - Cinema graduate at Concordia University, and environmental researcher from Eötvös Loránd University Daniel Alvarez - McGill University alumni in... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 11:40am - 12:00pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

12:45pm EDT

Plenary Session
12:45   CRIAQ - Sofiane Benyouci
Collaborative innovation: issues, challenges and winning practices, the example of aerospace
The Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) and the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC) are organizations whose missions are to facilitate collaboration of researchers from the aerospace industry, academia and research centres, and to launch initiatives whose primary purpose is to promote responsive, impactful R&D. This lecture will insist on the distinctive characteristics of these models and their impact on Quebec and Canada’s aerospace innovation culture. The lecture will also emphasize on the issues, importance and challenges of industrial cluster in collaborative innovation to accelerate the introduction of enabling and disruptive technologies, particularly in SMEs.

13:00  Canadian Space Agency - Isabelle Marcil
Science experiments on board the ISS and how they can improve our quality of life on Earth
Isabelle Marcil will talk about Canadian science taking place on the International Space Station (ISS), which is first and foremost a large orbiting research laboratory. She will give an overview of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques’ upcoming mission and the health science experiments he will be conducting aboard the ISS. She will also discuss how space is hard on the human body and how studying the way our body changes in space can help us understand the impacts of reduced levels of physical activity and issues that affect older populations on Earth.

Isabelle Marcil parlera des expériences scientifiques canadiennes menées à bord de la Station spatiale internationale. Elle donnera un aperçu de la prochaine mission de l’astronaute canadien David Saint-Jacques à bord de ce laboratoire orbital et des expériences qu’il y réalisera. Son exposé portera aussi sur les effets néfastes de l’espace sur le corps humain et sur les changements qu’ils lui font subir, dont l’étude permet de comprendre les conséquences sur la santé de la sédentarité et les problèmes de santé des aînés sur Terre.

13:30 MAYA HTT - Olivier Allard
 Next generation design and engineering  

avatar for Olivier Allard

Olivier Allard

AEC – Directeur Simulation, MAYA HTT
Olivier Allard est le directeur de la simulation dans les projets d’ingénierie, d’architecture et de construction (AEC). Il est l’un des 150 ingénieurs consultants chez Maya HTT basé à Montréal. Il a participé à des projets d’analyse CFD dans le bâtiment dans plusieurs... Read More →
avatar for Sofiane Benyouci

Sofiane Benyouci

Project and Business Development Manager, CRIAQ | CARIC
Sofiane Benyouci is Project and Business Development Manager for CRIAQ and CARIC which are respectively the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Quebec and in Canada. He has been a member of the CRIAQ and CARIC team for over 5 years where he is active in  scouting... Read More →
avatar for Isabelle Marcil

Isabelle Marcil

Senior Exploration Scientist, Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Spécialiste des questions de santé et de performance de l’humain dans son environnement de travail, Isabelle Marcil travaille à l’Agence spatiale canadienne (ASC) depuis 2009. En tant que scientifique principale en sciences de la vie à l’ASC, elle a travaillé à la réalisation... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

2:15pm EDT

Reaching for the Stars: How To Empower the Next Generation With Space
Since organizing a Solar Eclipse Event in August 2017 with over 2000 members of the public in attendance, speaker Emilie Lafleche continues to actively seek ways to reach younger audiences with her passion for space. After an opportunity to host an astronomy-themed workshop for the Girl Guides of Canada, she and her peer, Sam Henle, founded Stars and Stuff, a workshop-centric, non-profit organization with the goal of making space education fun and accessible for all youth, as well as to open doors for enthusiastic young students within the space industry. During this talk, participants will learn tips on how to share their love for space with others, and experience what this up-and-coming, student-led organization has to offer the next generation of stargazers.

avatar for Emilie Lafleche

Emilie Lafleche

Summer research intern, student, McGill Space Institute, iREx, McGill University
Emilie is a second-year Honours Planetary Science student at McGill University. Over the course of her studies, she discovered her love of astrobiology and observational astronomy, and has become a youth advocate for space education in her community. She has partnered several times... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 2:15pm - 2:45pm EDT
Room G Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

3:45pm EDT

Life on Other Worlds
avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 3:45pm - 4:05pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

3:45pm EDT

Taking the Leap in Entrepreneurship: How to Generate Startup Ideas in Space Tech
If you’re at a stage where you are considering entrepreneurship and need to come up with startup ideas, it’s important to learn how to frame the problem you want to solve correctly and articulate it clearly.

This workshop will empower you with the tools and methodologies to explore challenges from different perspectives and frame problem statements to spur creativity and different solution ideas that can turn into a startup opportunity. An ideation brainstorm is one of the most effective ways to explore new opportunities.

avatar for Ahmed El Wassimy

Ahmed El Wassimy

Program Manager, District 3
As the Program Manager at District 3, Ahmed helps with creating and implementing programs for the entrepreneurship initiatives at District 3. He empowers startups by providing them with access to the right resources at the right time.Prior to District 3, Ahmed was Product Growth and... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 3:45pm - 4:45pm EDT
Room G Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

4:05pm EDT

Searching for life in our solar system: development of the MICRO Life Detection Platform
Astrobiology is a major focus of space exploration. The search for life in our solar system is primarily focused on Mars, Europa and Enceladus, which are characterized by extremely cold temperatures. Current life detection instruments are focused on identification of habitable environments or detection of biosignatures, but not unambiguous signs of life. The overall goal of our research is the development of a small, portable, low cost, and low energy life detection platform known as the MICRO Life Detection Platform (MLDP) that could be incorporated into future astrobiology missions. Given that life in our solar system is very likely to be microbial in nature, the focus of this project is the testing and optimization of pre-existing, automated, and miniaturized robust instruments for the direct detection of extinct or extant microbial life. Our team is testing and optimizing four components of the MLDP: the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a Nucleic Acid Extraction Platform (NAEP), a Microbial Activity MicroAssay (MAMA), and the Cryo-iChip. Applying these instruments in a novel astrobiology context, they have been tested in two types of analogue sites: inverted paleochannels in the Utah desert and Canadian high Arctic cryoenvironments (e.g. permafrost and cold saline springs). The MinION, an ultra-small portable sequencer, can detect DNA, RNA, and proteins. Sequencing with the MinION has been performed on Utah paleochannel samples from diverse microbial habitats. Results have shown shifts in dominant bacterial phylum between high biomass and desiccated samples in addition to the detection of biogeochemical and astrobiology-significant compounds (perchlorate). We are currently testing multiple Extraction Platforms that can prepare biomolecules for MinION analysis. We have successfully used an automated NAEP system with high flight technology readiness for extraction and sequencing of cryoenvironment analogue samples. MAMA instruments are ideal for the detection and characterization of extant microbial communities. Wells inside the MAMA plates, incubated with a specific carbon source, will change colour in the presence of active microbes, thus demonstrating their metabolic activity. We are currently working to optimize the MAMA for high salinity, pH and perchlorate rich samples characteristic of Martian environments. Currently, a minimum of 4250 bacterial or 1225 yeast cells are required to detect metabolic activity, similar to Arctic analogue environments. The Cryo-iPlate is a novel culturing method used to isolate microorganisms from analogue sites. The isolates obtained are characterized for their adaptations, physiology and metabolism, all these provide insights into requirements for microbial life in extreme environments and identify potential biosignatures for astrobiology. Cryo-iPlates deployed in the Canadian high Arctic have to date lead to the isolation of hundreds of bacterial strains, among which four are putatively novel.


Olivia Blenner-Hassett

Graduate Student, McGill University

Catherine Maggiori

PhD Student, McGill University

Dr. Isabelle Raymond-Bouchard

Post Doctoral Fellow, McGill University
I am a postdoctoral fellow with the McGill Space Institute working in the laboratory of Dr. Lyle Whyte. Dr. Whyte’s research program focuses on examining microbial biodiversity and ecology in the Canadian high Arctic. These habitats include unique cold saline springs, permafrost... Read More →

David Touchette

M.Sc. student, McGill University

Thursday October 18, 2018 4:05pm - 4:25pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
Friday, October 19

9:30am EDT

[SGAC: #NextGen Canada] Public-Private Infrastructure in Canada
The international space industry has been increasingly diversifying over the years, emulating business models previously deemed forward-looking. A reflection on current state of affairs highlights business practices adept at scaling growth, opportunities and benefits to nationals of States.

For example, the economical inflow from Luxembourg: Law on Use of Resources in Space is enabling platforms for international cooperation not only amid industries, but also through its government-led mandate which recognizes the impact of propagating its regulatory reform through partnerships with other heads of States. Except for the United States, no other country has yet levelled its efforts to empower its economy to comparable lengths by focusing on policy frameworks. These are likely to be major precursors for strong economic development, intellectual property and technology transfer. Canada has, in recent years, deployed its Innovation Superclusters Initiative and the Strategic Innovation Funds under the overarching umbrella program: Innovation and Skills Plan. With the Budget 2018, $11.5M funding was designated to look at regulatory reforms with an initial focus in key sectors such as agri-food and emerging technologies, with space explicitly absent from this list. With the program’s focus aspiring to seek benefits for Canadians ranging from rural communities to establishing Canada at the forefront of innovation, the scope and terminology is likely to confound the public. To align space into these conversations, it is imperative to leverage a familiar tone that not only connects with Canadians, but that is also in-line with young entrepreneurs/early start-ups and the mandates of federal programs referred therein.

With the ambiguity that the Canadian space sector faces today and the ongoing reformatory conversations within the Government, future discussions must retrace Canadian impacts in space technology development, while simultaneously showcasing its accomplishments. This was most recently recognized in the Patents in Space report published by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Most importantly perhaps, Canada stands to lose its prominence in the G7 group while potentially jeopardizing its heritage: the third country in Space, after the Soviet Union and the US. A new paradigm of public-private partnerships offers a pathway capable of reconciling Canadian priorities highlighted above, and therefore serves as an urgent call for Canada to act upon and align its priorities for the space industry.

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 Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

President and CEO, Satellite Canada Innovation Network
Ryan is President and CEO of Satellite Canada Innovation Network, a not-for-profit corporationfocused on enhancing the competitiveness of Canada’s space industry. A professional engineerwith over 12 years’ experience in space and satellite systems, Ryan has currently providesconsulting... Read More →
avatar for Gilles Doucet

Gilles Doucet

Space Security Consultant, Spectrum Space Security
Gilles Doucet is an independent space security consultant, President of SpectrumSpace Security Inc. and technical consultant for ABH Aerospace LLC. Doucet’sconsultancy focuses on the convergence of satellite technology, military spaceapplications, space governance and international... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Ram Jakhu

Dr. Ram Jakhu

Associate Professor and former Director, McGill Institute of Air and Space Law
Currently Prof. Ram S. Jakhu is tenured Associate Professor at theInstitute of Air and Space Law, McGill University. He teaches and conducts research in international space law, law of space applications, law of space commercialization, space security, national regulation ofspace... Read More →
avatar for Nathan de Ruiter

Nathan de Ruiter

Managing Director, Euroconsult
avatar for Dr. Marie Lucy Stojak

Dr. Marie Lucy Stojak

Chair, Space Advisory Board | Director of the School on Management of Creativity and Innovation, HEC Montréal

Friday October 19, 2018 9:30am - 10:30am EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:00am EDT

Swarm Systems for Space Exploration
We are currently on the verge of a new technology revolution---autonomous systems are becoming more and more present in our everyday lives. From drones to self-driving cars, these systems are becoming pervasive, and are acting as an enabling technology for many kinds of safety-critical applications, also in space. Examples of applications are search-and-rescue operations, industrial and agricultural inspection, autonomous car driving, planetary exploration, and satellite mega-constellations. Despite this ambitious vision, the major achievements in the area of swarm systems still consist of algorithms that tackle specific problem instances, and the performance of these algorithms strongly depends upon the context in which they are developed. Given this state of affairs, reproducing results and comparing algorithms is difficult, hindering the development of swarm robotics as a whole. We present a novel paradigm for the development of complex swarm behaviors. It offers a small, but powerful set of operations to specify behaviors both in a swarm-wide fashion, and from the point of view of an individual device. This swarm-oriented programming offers the promise of letting a designer program thousands of autonomous systems (e.g. robots, satellites) in a manageable way. This talk will present the overall swarm-oriented approach, as well as practical examples in the area of planetary exploration.

avatar for Dr. Giovanni Beltrame

Dr. Giovanni Beltrame

Professor, Polytechnique Montreal
Giovanni Beltrame obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering fromPolitecnico di Milano, in 2006 after which he worked as microelectronicsengineer at the European Space Agency on a number of projects spanningfrom radiation-tolerant systems to computer-aided design. In 2010 hemoved... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Exploration

11:00am EDT

[SGAC: #NextGen Canada] Navigating the Canadian Space Landscape
The youth interested in working in the space industry face a variety of challenges. There is a lack of awareness to different types of careers in the space sector, with most associating it to aerospace engineering or astronomy. The reality is that the space industry is multifaceted, there is no handpicked subset of disciplines that “qualifies” whether it’s applicable or not to the space domain. If anything, the space sector is growing towards plurality.

It should be noted that space is an enabling domain and one of its facets strives on improving accessibility. This can be seen through the lens of SciCom: an interdisciplinary field that goes beyond the confinement of technical knowledge and blends philosophy, culture, politics and social sciences to name a few. There is, however, a lack of awareness for many young people on the composition of the Canadian space sector. For example, different companies, academic labs and institutions, museums and nonprofit organizations all collaborate in the space industry. The domain itself is woven in a foundation of inter-connected entities, be it individuals, governments or large corporates. Despite the rich distribution of fields that are involved, it remains a subtlety to both the public and particularly the youth.

Furthermore, there’s an essential need to increase opportunities that encourages visibility to auxiliary fields that are continuously working closely to the space sector. For many, there is an apparent boundary separating jobs that are ‘in” from those that are “out” of the space field. Thus, it is important to vocalize the diversity and accessibility of viable options that can be pursued. To many young graduates and university students, the broadness of the industry is not well encapsulated. This may be due to a low visibility itself and some combination of public engagement from the space community which focuses largely on its technical elements. Such introspections are equally important to bring sustainable conversations while engaging the public’s perception.

It is along these lines that the landscape of navigating the space industry can become challenging, if not completely hidden. To this day, professional growth and pathways remain deeply rooted to technical backgrounds, despite the emergence of non-technical fields becoming more prevalent. Leveraging an open dialogue may not only contribute useful insights for Canadians but may also provide exposure to concepts of global awareness. Differentiating the barrier of entry for opportunities in space by utilizing accessible platforms has its own merits and therefore serves as an important topic for discussion.

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 Collin Cupido

Collin Cupido

Chief Technology Officer, Cultovo
Collin is the CTO of Cultovo, a data analytics company that uses remote sensing data to help inform financial services like crop insurance. He has a BSc in Astrophysics from the University of Alberta and was the technical lead for Alberta’s first satellite ExAlta-1. Collin's experience... Read More →
avatar for Jan Clarence Dee

Jan Clarence Dee

Space Studies Program Alumnus, International Space University
Jan Clarence Dee is currently employed as a consultant for Euroconsult. On his spare time, he serves as one of the organizers of the Montreal Space Symposium and a member of the Montreal chapter of the Canadian Space Society.Jan is a graduate from Concordia University (Canada) in... Read More →
avatar for Kate Howells

Kate Howells

Global Community Outreach Manager, The Planetary Society
Kate Howells is the author of Space is Cool as F***, member of the Government of Canada’s Space Advisory Board and Global Community Outreach Manager at The Planetary Society, an organization that aims to empower people around the world to become involved in advancing space exploration... Read More →
avatar for Martin Lebeuf

Martin Lebeuf

Head, Academic Development, Canadian Space Agency
avatar for Ali Nasseri

Ali Nasseri

Space Generation Advisory Council
I am an Aerospace engineer turned Educator turned Physicist. I have worked on the design of launch systems and propulsion, combustion and spintronics in the past as a researcher. I also Chaired the Space Generation Advisory Council from 2016-2018. Talk to me about anything space... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

11:20am EDT

Prospects for Space Exploration
Space exploration has cemented its position as the ultimate frontier, attracting not only the interest of an increasing number of governments but also the private sector.

Historic space players have been deeply involved in space exploration missions since the nineteen-sixties. Since these early beginnings, the number of countries involved in space exploration has expanded considerably. Moving forward, space agencies worldwide are evaluating the future of space exploration with a converging interest in the Moon as the next destination for human spaceflight beyond LEO. Meanwhile, international partners discuss the future of the ISS, while robotic missions to the Moon, Mars and other destinations are being planned.

In the last ten years there has been a significant increase in the number of private space exploration activities. Private entities see new economic and commercial opportunities derived from space exploration. This rise of commercial space exploration initiatives is redistributing the cards between the government and industry in defining the agenda for space exploration.

This talk will provide an overview of the prospects of space exploration. This will include a review on the global strategic priorities in space exploration, government investment, involvement of commercial organizations and the role of that public-private partnerships might play moving forward. 

avatar for Natalia Larrea Brito

Natalia Larrea Brito

Senior Consultant, Euroconsult
Natalia Larrea is a Senior Consultant at Euroconsult based in Montreal. In her role, she manages and contributes to consulting missions for government and private institutions in the fields of space exploration, Earth observation, and satellite communications. She focuses on the assessment... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Space Exploration

12:45pm EDT

Development of Canadian Orbital Launch Capabilities for the Microsat Market
The bulk of satellites launched have historically been large scientific or telecommunication satellites weighting thousands of kilograms. However, in recent years, COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) technologies and miniaturization trends have created a surge in interest towards microsatellites2. The emergence of these new technologies has allowed new actors to develop smaller and more cost- effective satellites to perform the same missions at a fraction of the weight. In 2016, there were 101 microsatellites launched. Over the next 10 years, there is an expected 19.7% compound annual growth rate3 of satellite launch worldwide. This highlights the short-term requirements of the launch market, expected to be worth around $62 billion over the next 10 years with 11,631 Smallsats (10 – 300 kg) launched through 20301.
However, due to the lack of operational dedicated launchers, microsatellites are often constrained to launch as secondary payloads alongside larger satellites. This situation requires microsatellite operators to adapt to the primary payload’s timeline, as well as their less than optimal orbits.

Reaction Dynamics is pioneering the Canadian space industry by developing the first Canadian orbital launcher. With it’s proprietary hybrid rocket fuel technology, the company aims to target the microsatellite market which is poised to grow to $62.2 billion over the next ten years.

avatar for Bachar Elzein

Bachar Elzein

CEO & CTO, Reaction Dynamics
Founder, CEO & CTO of Reaction Dynamics. Research associate at the multiphase and reactive flows lab in propulsion & combustion dynamics. Mechanical engineering at Polytechnique.

Friday October 19, 2018 12:45pm - 1:05pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Launch Capability

1:05pm EDT

From Canada to Orbit
How do you get a satellite into space, especially if you don’t want to leave the comfort of a country like Canada? This presentation will cover some of the safety, operational and regulatory aspects facing the launch market in Canada today.

avatar for Neil Woodcock

Neil Woodcock

Chief Operations Officer, Reaction Dynamics
Neil Woodcock is the Chief Operations Officer of Reaction Dynamics, a Canadian startup intending to manufacture and operate small satellite launch vehicles. He previously worked as the Space Concordia Rocketry Division’s technical lead and as Space Concordia’s President. He obtained... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 1:05pm - 1:20pm EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
  Launch Capability

1:20pm EDT

Grassroots Aerospace Innovation and the Canadian Rocket Innovation Challenge
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

2:15pm EDT

[SGAC: #NextGen Canada] Aligning Canada with International Partners for the Advancement of Space Exploration
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
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