Canadian Space Agency

by Louis Grenier

The Unveiling of the Canadian Space Strategy - Future Direction in Space Science and Exploration

In February 2005, the Government of Canada approved the Canadian Space Strategy as the framework for the Canadian Space Agency to lead in the implementation of our national Space Program.
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Space is recognized as a strategic priority that will enable Canadians to meet their economic, social, and foreign policy objectives and to continue to serve the needs of citizens, governments, and industry in the decades to come and beyond. Canada is proud to join a select group of nations who recognize space as a national priority to achieve scientific, commercial, social, and political objectives.

The use of space in Canada has two main purposes: it is an essential instrument for national development; and it can be a tool for offering affordable solutions to address international issues beyond the scope and resources of any single nation - issues such as global security, peacekeeping, and climate change.

The Canadian Space Strategy provides new insights to our partners, stakeholders, and you - our readers - about our vision for space endeavors. It is the blueprint that will help Canada chart its goals in space, and outlines how we will seize the countless opportunities before us to meet our national needs, display international leadership, and develop our potential to the fullest.

First, we envision that Canadians will benefit most in the future from focusing our program activities in four directions.
    • We will explore, develop, and harness the potential of space in some of the most incredible initiatives humanity has ever undertaken. We will work in concert with our partners to make significant contributions which will advance scientific knowledge of our world, the Universe, and our place in it.
    • We will lead Canadian citizens and communities to take full advantage of the benefits space has to offer, particularly in the areas of telecommunications and Earth Observation, and to take their place among the top users of space products and services in the world.
    • We will integrate space fully and completely as an invaluable tool to help stakeholders fulfill their mandates and reach our Government's goals for Canadians.
    • We will build upon our innovative national partnership linking government, industry, and research institutes so that the Canadian model becomes an international paradigm for effective cooperation.

The exploration of space is one of the most prominent scientific and technological endeavors humanity has ever undertaken - from the first steps off our home planet; to building the International Space Station; to next-generation space telescopes that beam back dazzling images of distant galaxies; to space probes and roving landers that explore planets and other bodies in our solar system in search of answers to fundamental questions; to, one day, a human presence extending even further into space.

Canada's worldwide reputation for exceptional science instrumentation and robotics, as well as the exceptional skills of its astronaut corps, are the key strengths that position our country to collaborate and succeed in this highly demanding field.

Canada's vision is to play a significant international role in space science and exploration activities through CSA's achievement of a bold overarching objective:

To better understand our Solar System and the Universe; to seek signs of life in extraterrestrial habitats; and to prepare for a permanent human presence in space and on other planets.

This overarching objective will serve as a beacon for Canadians, including our space community, to remember and stay focused on the national Space Program.

Such an objective will enable CSA to achieve strategic outcomes for the Government of Canada. We will implement this objective over the next 20 years by achieving successive targeted results within two main science-driven pillars: (1) Astronomy and the Solar System; and (2) Physical and Life Sciences. The targeted results for each area are:

Pillar 1 Astronomy and the Solar System

To develop and utilize the essential space infrastructure so that Canadians can expand their knowledge of:

- The origin, formation and structure, and evolution of the Universe (through Space Astronomy);

- The constituent elements and origins of life; chemical and physical properties and dynamics of planets, as well as the physical nature of small celestial bodies (through Planetary Exploration);

- The physics of solar storms and their impact on the space and Earth environments (through Solar-Terrestrial Science).

Pillar 2 Physical Sciences and Life Sciences

To ensure that the necessary human capital and the essential space infrastructure are in place to enable Canadians to:

- Expand their knowledge of the basic principles of physics, chemistry, and biology by performing science in the unique environment of space, and use that knowledge to develop new products and to improve existing applications (through Physical Sciences);

- Expand their knowledge of the basic characteristics of the space environment and its effects on the biological and physiological processes of living organisms
(through Life Sciences);

- Apply this knowledge in order to support the human exploration of the solar system and improve health conditions here on Earth
(through the Canadian Astronaut Program).

The CSA Space Science and exploration strategy has the following four characteristics:

(1) it is result-based - to meet the Government of Canada Strategic Outcomes;

(2) it is client-focused - to serve our scientific community;

(3) it is science-driven - to seek answers to fundamental questions; and

(4) it is technology-enabled - to best support our science-driven rationale for scientific exploration.

The CSA is mandated to develop Canada's science capacity, technology base, and space infrastructure to provide our science community and industry with the necessary competitive advantage to maintain scientific excellence and to remain preferred providers of space systems.

The CSA will seek to leverage its expertise and its human and financial resources through key domestic and international partnerships in order to deliver Government of Canada Strategic Outcomes.

The CSA will emphasize the strategic importance of sharing scientific discoveries with youth, educators, and the public, so as to inspire future generations of Canadians and to instill in them a deep sense of pride in Canada's future space achievements.

An exciting and promising future lies ahead for Canada through scientific discovery and the exploration of space by Canadians. Advancing our knowledge of the Universe, seeking evidence of life, or past life, and exploring our solar system are of strategic importance to Canada. These discovery-driven endeavors will contribute significantly to transform humanity, just as Galileo and Columbus fundamentally changed our concept of the Earth and its place in the Universe.

Canada will demonstrate leadership and seek to inspire its citizens and other nations within the framework of its Space Science and Exploration strategy.

To receive a copy of the Canadian Space Strategy, or for any other inquiry, please contact:

Mr. Louis L. Grenier,
Acting Director, Strategic Development,
Canadian Space Agency
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