Canada launches Space Strategy
Mar. 08, 2019
Global Korean Post
From pioneering satellite communications technologies to building the “Canadarm” and space-based radar systems, Canada has been making key contributions to space science and technology for over six decades.
On February 28, 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $1.9 billion over 24 years for the next generation of smart, AI-powered space robotics for the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway.
The government is also providing $150 million over 5 years for the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). LEAP will fund the development and demonstration of lunar science and technologies in fields that include AI, robotics and health.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development on Mar. 6, announced a national space strategy that recognizes the strategic value of space and space exploration for Canada.
Canada’s commitment to participating in the Lunar Gateway forms the cornerstone of Exploration, Imagination, Innovation: A New Space Strategy for Canada, which aims to leverage Canadian strengths like robotics, while advancing science and innovation in exciting areas like AI and biomedical technologies. Furthermore, to help prepare the next generation for the jobs of the future, the Junior Astronaut initiative will capitalize on the inspirational power of space to engage youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, among the wide range of space-related skills and activities.
The Strategy describes how the Government will position Canada’s space industry to take full advantage of the growing global space economy while ensuring that Canada keeps pace. It will also support innovative space firms through a dedicated investment so that they can scale up and thrive both in Canada and abroad.
The Strategy also places priority on harnessing space science and technology to solve important challenges on Earth, including:
- investing in satellite communications technologies for broadband, including connectivity in rural and remote regions;
- exploring how the delivery of healthcare services in isolated communities can be improved through lessons learned in space;
- funding the development and demonstration of lunar science and technologies in fields that include AI, robotics and health; and
- leveraging the unique data collected from Canada’s space-based assets to grow businesses and conduct cutting-edge science, including about the impact of climate change on Earth’s atmosphere.
Canada’s space sector currently employs 10,000 highly skilled workers, generates $5.5 billion in Canada’s economy annually, and averages $2 billion in export sales.
The United States-led Lunar Gateway will be the next major international collaboration in human space exploration. It is the first step of an ambitious plan by NASA and the International Space Station (ISS) partners, including Canada, to send humans deeper into space than we have ever been.
Getting to the Moon requires a powerful launch system able to pull away from Earth’s strong gravitational field. The journey will take several days. NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is a new type of rocket that will carry a maximum of four astronauts to the area around the Moon.
Canada is contributing a smart robotic system to the Gateway, a small space station in lunar orbit.