Canadian Space Agency

The Canadian Space Agency was created by an Act of Parliament on 14 December 1989. Its mandate is to promote the peaceful use and development of space for the social and economic benefit of Canadians. The agency is responsible for numerous science and technology programs, including development of satellites, space robotic technology, the Canadian Astronaut Program and space sciences.

The CSA is responsible for the Canadian Astronaut Program, which manages the selection, training and space flights of Canadian astronauts. Several Canadians have participated in shuttle missions: Dr. Marc Garneau (1984, 1998), Dr. Roberta Bondar (1992), Dr. Steve MacLean (1992), Col Chris Hadfield (1995, 1998), Dr. Dave Williams (1995), and Julie Payette (1999) - the first Canadian to participate in an international space station mission and the first to board the station. Further shuttle flights will include Canadian astronauts.

Satellite programs form a major component of the Canadian Space Agency's activities. RADARSAT, a remote sensing satellite jointly developed by Canada and the US, was launched in 1995. Incorporating advanced microwave technology known as SAR (synthetic aperture radar) that can penetrate fog, darkness and clouds, RADARSAT provides high-resolution images that will be used in managing natural resources and monitoring the environment.

The CSA-run David Florida Laboratory in Ottawa is used for the assembly and testing of satellites and other space hardware. It features "clean" rooms for assembling space components in an environment free of atmospheric contaminants, as well as equipment for evaluating thermal characteristics, radio frequencies, mass and structural properties and susceptibility to vibration.

Space Science and Technology Programs

The CSA also runs space science and technology programs that provide opportunities for Canadian scientists and engineers and Canadian industry to participate in international manned and unmanned space programs. Scientific projects in space physics, astronomy, atmospheric chemistry, materials and life sciences have been flown aboard satellites and the space shuttle; in many cases, Canadian astronauts have conducted experiments on behalf of Canadian researchers. The space technology program seeks to develop new, advanced technologies for space applications.

Co-operative Programs with Other Nations

The CSA co-ordinates Canada's contribution to co-operative programs with the space agencies of other nations; namely, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency, the Japanese Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency. The most significant partnership with these agencies is the International Space Station, the first part of which was launched on 20 Nov, 1998 and involved Canada, 11 European nations, Japan, Russia and the USA. The station will provide the member countries with a permanently occupied space base in low Earth orbit from which to conduct space science and technology research. Canada's contribution is the Mobile Servicing System (MSS), a large robotic manipulator built by a consortium of Canadian aerospace companies led by Spar Aerospace Ltd of Toronto. The MSS is used to assemble the space station, to move cargo and supplies, to repair and replace components and to assist in docking the space shuttle to the station. The CSA is responsible for managing the design, development and operation of the MSS.