November 24, 2014

Emerson: Let’s reclaim our status as a leading spacefaring nation

DAVID EMERSON | Published on: September 15, 2015

Often lost in the retail emphasis of today’s politics is any real discussion of the big issues that will shape the long-term future of the country. The development of Canada’s capacity in space is one such issue.

Space-based assets – satellites for communication/data/broadband, navigation, Earth observation, weather – are among the most critical infrastructure of modern economies. Space touches every Canadian every day, and is a powerful catalyst for the interplay of education, skills and training, innovation and research, high tech industrial development and highly skilled jobs.

Recognizing that space-based technologies were the only way to unify and provide many critical services across a vast and remotely populated country, Canada was an early leader in space. With the launch of a telecommunications research satellite named Alouette in 1962, we became the third country in space. In 1972, Canada launched the world’s first satellite designed for coast-to-coast communications, and in 1978 was the first to digitally process a radar satellite image. The US space shuttle and International Space Station program owes much to Canadian space robotics, so much so that Canadarm has become a symbol of Canadian technological achievement.

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