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Canadian Space Agency manages Canada's space program.


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Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA or, in French, l'Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC) is the Canadian government space agency responsible for Canada's space program. It was established in March 1989 by the Canadian Space Agency Act and sanctioned in December 1990. The Chief Executive Officer of the agency is the President who reports to the Minister of Industry.

The headquarters of the CSA is located at John H. Chapman Space Centre in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. The agency also has offices in Ottawa, Ontario at the David Florida Laboratory (which is mainly an engineering installation) and small liaison offices in Washington, D.C., Paris, France, Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Houston, Texas.

The agency is a relatively modest federal establishment, with only 575 employees and a rotating student population of about 100 interns or summer workers. Most of the staff is at the Chapman Centre.

History of the Canadian Space Agency.

With the launch of Alouette 1 in 1962 Canada became the third country to put a man-made satellite into space. The mission was a big success; although it was only expected to last for one year, it lasted for ten. This prompted further study of the ionosphere with the international ISIS program, which in 1993 was designated an International Milestone of Electrical Engineering by IEEE.

Another Canadian first was the launch of Anik A-1 in 1972, making Canada the first country in the world to have its own domestic geostationary communication satellite network.

Mission and mandate of the Canadian Space Agency.

Canadarm2.
A NASA photo of the Canadarm2.

The Canadian Space Agency Act is the Act of the Parliament of Canada which established the Canadian Space Agency. The Act received royal assent on May 10, 1990 and came into force on December 14, 1990. The legislated mandate of the CSA is:

"To promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians".

The Canadian Space Agency's mission statement says that the agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

To achieve this, the CSA attempts to promote an environment where all levels of the organization:

  • pursue excellence collectively.
  • advocate a client-oriented attitude.
  • support employee-oriented practices and open communications.
  • commit themselves to both empowerment and accountability and.
  • pledge to cooperate and work with partners to mutual benefit.

Canadian Space Agency: Cooperation with other national agencies.

The CSA has several formal and informal partnerships and collaborative programs or agreements with space agencies in other countries, such as NASA, ESA and JAXA, and perhaps soon the CNSA.

Since January 1, 1979 Canada has had the special status of a cooperating state with the ESA, paying for the privilege and also investing in working time and providing scientific instruments which are placed on European probes. On June 21, 2000 the accord was renewed for a fourth period, this time for 10 years. By virtue of this accord Canada takes part in ESA deliberative bodies and decision-making and in ESA's programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision specifically ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada.

The CSA visited the China National Space Administration in October 2005 and planned to reach a deal soon to put Canadian scientific instruments in two Chinese satellites. There was also speculation about China in the future perhaps wanting the Canadarm2 technology for its planned Space station, but the CNSA has not raised the possiblity yet. 22 October 2005

Canadian Space Program

The Canadian Space Program is also administered by the Canadian Space Agency. Canada has contributed technology, expertise and personnel to the world space effort, especially in collaboration with NASA and the ESA.

In addition to its astronauts, some of the most notable Canadian technological contributions to space exploration are the Canadarm (on the Space Shuttle) and the Canadarm2 and the rest of the Mobile Servicing System (on the International Space Station). The Canadarm and Canadarm2 are assisted by the Advanced Space Vision System allowing more efficient use of the robotic arms. They also created the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, which is an extension of the Canadarm used to inspect the Space Shuttle's thermal protection system for damage while in orbit.

Canadians in Space

Eight Canadians have participated on 12 NASA manned missions to date:

NameShuttleMissionLaunch dateNotes
Marc Garneau Challenger STS-41-G October 5, 1984 First Canadian in space
Roberta Bondar Discovery STS-42 January 22, 1992 First Canadian woman in space
Steven MacLean Columbia STS-52 October 22, 1992
Chris Hadfield Atlantis STS-74 November 12, 1995 Only Canadian to visit Mir
Marc Garneau Endeavour STS-77 May 19, 1996
Robert Thirsk Columbia STS-78 June 20, 1996
Bjarni Tryggvason Discovery STS-85 August 7, 1997
Dafydd Williams Columbia STS-90 April 17, 1998
Julie Payette Discovery STS-96 May 27, 1999 First Canadian to visit the ISS
Marc Garneau Endeavour STS-97 November 30, 2000 ISS mission
Chris Hadfield Endeavour STS-100 April 19, 2001 First spacewalk by a Canadian
Steven MacLean Atlantis STS-115 September 9, 2006 Second spacewalk by a Canadian
Dafydd Williams Endeavour STS-118 ~June 11, 2007

Note: Michael McKay resigned due to medical reasons before having a space flight.

Owing to the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the two future shuttle flights have been put on hold. Two Canadian experiments were destroyed in the loss of Columbia.

Canadian satellites

NameLaunchedRetiredPurpose
Alouette 1 September 29, 1962 1972 Explore the ionosphere
Alouette 2 November 29, 1965 August 1st, 1975 Explore the ionosphere
ISIS-I January 30, 1969 1990 Explore the ionosphere
ISIS-II April 1st, 1971 Explore the ionosphere
Hermes January 17, 1976 November, 1979 Experimental Communications satellite
RADARSAT-1 November 4, 1995 Still in use Commercial Earth observation satellite
MOST June 30, 2003 Still in use space telescope
SCISAT-1 August 12, 2003 Still in use Observe the Earth's atmosphere
RADARSAT-2 Scheduled for 2006 Commercial Earth observation satellite
CASSIOPE Scheduled for 2007 CAScade, Smallsat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer

Additionally, there are some commercial satellites launched by the telecommunications company Telesat Canada. These are the 13 Anik satellites (3 of which are still in use), the 3 Nimiq satellites (all currently used by Bell ExpressVu), and a satellite called M-Sat 1 launched April 20, 1996, at 22h36 UTC.

Canadian Space Agency Locations.

  • John H. Chapman Space Centre.
  • David Florida Laboratory.
  • Fort Churchill.



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