Canada Invests in Space Technologies

The Canadian government recently announced a major investment of $10.3 million in R&D contracts to Canadian firms for the design of new space technologies and applications:

"The investments announced are crucial for supporting Canada’s leadership position in niche markets such as robotics, remote sensing, satellite communication components, and radar, and for making groundbreaking technologies market-ready. These are technologies that respond to Canadian needs and those of our international partners," said Minister [of Industry Maxime] Bernier.

Nearly $1.9 million of those grants went to the Ottawa area. But what exactly is being funded?

A list of projects is available on the Canadian Space Agency website; they include "guidance, navigation and control software to improve the autonomy, safety and reliability of space systems; improvements on a new satellite design that can be used for studying the environment and monitoring natural resources; a feasibility study on an instrument which measures water content of soil without touching it; and near-instantaneous distress alert technology."

The end result of such investments reach far beyond Canada. In November of last year, the CSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Egyptian government to explore uses of space technology in Egypt:

The main focus of the agreement is currently Earth observation to promote sustainable growth; in past years Canada has worked extensively with various satellite applications to connect its far-flung population of 32 million people spread out over 10 million square kilometers. As the MOU is an open agreement, however, there are virtually no limits on the possibilities.

The Egyptian project is aimed at promoting sustainable development, and may help deliver high-tech telemedicine services to the region.

Which, we must admit, seems to be a better use of money than this widely-publicized bit of Canadian research