The Canadian Space Agency held its first annual space conference on Tuesday. The meeting was adjoined in Longueuil, Quebec where the agency is located, and was attended by 100 members within the realm of academic, industry and government groups.
James Moore, the Industry Minister, disclosed Canada’s new space policy framework weeks before the event. This appears to have been setting up the atmosphere for the conference and its implied importance.
The head of the Space Agency, General Walt Natynczyk, began the proceeding’s and was followed by various senior officials in government that oversee the operations of Canadian space resources. Natynczyk is said to be a new breed of leader that encompasses good values as well as having a tough exterior.
Security and dominance (in the field) ranked as the top concerns for the federal policy framework. The Department of National Defence touched on space activities and the role they would play in the near future.
Others that delivered speeches were the federal officials with Environment Canada, Development Canada, Defence Research and the National Research council. It was the goal for these departments to express what their specific space needs are.
The conference continued with discussions on satellite uses, commercialization, earth and space observation and the industries main capabilities. The Polar Communications project was also a major concern which includes the sending of two satellites high over the Arctic to orbit and observe weather patterns. The project, which will also aid with communications, is set to begin in 2017.
The idea is that the 2 satellites while in High Elliptical Orbit, otherwise known as HEO, is to be able to administer broadband communication services on a 24 hour basis, 7 days a week.
The Arctic’s weather conditions play a direct role in the climate changes that occur globally. It is for this reason that is crucial to have a system in place to be able to record, track and predict the weather. These forecasts of short and long-term climate is necessary for the operating economy as well as the safety of all Canadians. Something that the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has stood behind.
Some of the very important objectives this mission is trying to attain is to use the communications system in order to allow activities in the Arctic for the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment Canada and the Canadian Forces to name a few. Also to improve forecasting predictions and foresee event warnings of severe weather. Another is the implementation of a system to alert for Polar Cap Absorption which interferes with communications that run on high frequencies in the Arctic.
The conference, which ended up a success for the Canadian Space Agency, are glad to have held what is being called Canada’s first ever space conference and looking forward to the agency’s future conferences.
Even though the federal budget is cramped the conference was still able to take place. With Natynczyk leading the Canadian Space Agency in its first ever annual conference, Moore said months earlier that there are no financial setbacks stopping them from carrying out their objectives. The Canadian Space Agency has a current budget of $260 million.
By Derik L. Bradshaw