Joint Capabilities

Space activities

  • Space capabilities are critical to Canada’s national security, sovereignty, and economy.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces relies on satellites to support all of its operations, including for navigation, communications, and intelligence.
  • This is why we continue to make major investments in space-based capabilities.
  • For example, in 2019, Canada launched three RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellites, which enhance our ability to monitor Canada’s maritime and northern approaches.
  • We also collaborate closely with our allies, partners and industry to enhance and ensure the resilience of our space capabilities.
  • As an example, the Canadian Armed Forces cooperates extensively with the US, other Five Eyes partners, and France and Germany through the Combined Space Operations initiative.
  • This collaboration helps preserve our access to space, defend and protect our capabilities from threats, and provide continuous space services to allied and partner military operations.
  • We will continue seeking ways to deepen this collaboration, and promote the responsible use and protection of space, now and into the future.

Key Facts

  • The Canadian space workforce represents nearly 10,000 jobs, while activities in the space sector support close to 11,000 additional jobs in the wider Canadian economy (2018).
  • Canada operates alongside the US, United Kingdom, and Australia in the Combined Space Operations Centre.
  • Approximately 35 Canadian Armed Forces personnel currently perform space domain awareness and missile warning duties as part of NORAD.
  • National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program has launched three space-related ‘Challenges’.


  • The Canadian Space Agency is the Government of Canada lead for civil space policies and programs.
  • National Defence, the largest Government of Canada user of space, is the lead for defence space policies and programs. National Defence maintains a collaborative relationship with other government departments to optimize whole-of-government space capability outcomes.
  • National Defence’s space program, with the Royal Canadian Air Force as the functional authority, is organized around four main lines of operation:
    • Surveillance of space;
    • Surveillance from space (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance);
    • Positioning, navigation, and timing (e.g. Global Positioning System); and
    • Satellite communications.
  • National Defence also conducts space-related Research and Development projects.
  • Canada’s most important partner in space is the US. Collaboration began in the late 1950s, with participation in space operations through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), where approximately 35 CAF personnel currently perform space domain awareness and missile warning duties embedded in several US units. Canada also contributes its Sapphire satellite to the US Space Surveillance Network which helps increase awareness of where objects are located in space.
  • Since 2014, National Defence has also closely collaborated with Five Eyes partners (and, more recently, with France and Germany as well) under the Combined Space Operation initiative, which enables and enhances collaboration on military and defence space activities.
  • Canada also operates alongside the US, the UK, and Australia in the multilateral Combined Space Operations Centre (CSpOC) to improve coordination for defensive space efforts. The Canadian Space Operations Centre (CANSpOC), in Ottawa, and the Sensor System Operations Centre (SSOC), in North Bay, help monitor satellite movements and conduct routine collaboration and integration with the CSpOC.
  • Canada is actively seeking ways to deepen its cooperation with key allies and partners to: enhance the resilience of space capabilities; optimize space resources; promote responsible behavior in space; and enhance operational collaboration, including through increased participation in combined space operations.

Version 1 – 2020-06-10 – Source: Supps(B) 2020-2021 note: “Space Activities”

Top of page

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: