Launching Canada's Space Strategy
Government releases plan for future space exploration, space science and jobs
March 6, 2019 – Edmonton, Alberta
From pioneering satellite communications technologies to building the "Canadarm" and space-based radar systems, Canada has been making key contributions to space science and technology for over six decades. Investing in science, innovation and research unlocks new opportunities for economic growth, creates thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians, and helps us understand the world we live in and our place in it.
Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a national space strategy that recognizes the strategic value of space and space exploration for Canada.
Canada's commitment to participating in the Lunar Gateway forms the cornerstone of Exploration, Imagination, Innovation: A New Space Strategy for Canada, which aims to leverage Canadian strengths like robotics, while advancing science and innovation in exciting areas like AI and biomedical technologies. Furthermore, to help prepare the next generation for the jobs of the future, the Junior Astronaut initiative will capitalize on the inspirational power of space to engage youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, among the wide range of space-related skills and activities.
The Strategy describes how the Government will position Canada's space industry to take full advantage of the growing global space economy while ensuring that Canada keeps pace. It will also support innovative space firms through a dedicated investment so that they can scale up and thrive both in Canada and abroad.
The Strategy also places priority on harnessing space science and technology to solve important challenges on Earth, including:
- investing in satellite communications technologies for broadband, including connectivity in rural and remote regions;
- exploring how the delivery of healthcare services in isolated communities can be improved through lessons learned in space;
- funding the development and demonstration of lunar science and technologies in fields that include AI, robotics and health; and
- leveraging the unique data collected from Canada's space-based assets to grow businesses and conduct cutting-edge science, including about the impact of climate change on Earth's atmosphere.
Space exploration increases our knowledge of our planet and universe, encourages research and discoveries, and creates new business opportunities here in Canada to improve our daily lives. Through the Strategy, the Government of Canada is supporting future generations of innovators and explorers and ensuring that Canadians are ready to take advantage of the jobs and industries of tomorrow.
"By aiming for the moon, we allow our children to reach for the stars. Space represents limitless possibilities and endless discoveries. For every astronaut we send to space, there are thousands of Canadians who are part of the journey. Canada's space strategy will foster our next generation of astronauts, engineers and scientists and will ensure Canadians and Canadian businesses benefit from the growing opportunities in the space economy."
- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
The Strategy is informed by the views and perspectives gathered by Canada's Space Advisory Board.
On February 28, 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $1.9 billion over 24 years for the next generation of smart, AI-powered space robotics for the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway.
The government is also providing $150 million over 5 years for the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). LEAP will fund the development and demonstration of lunar science and technologies in fields that include AI, robotics and health.
The Junior Astronaut initiative includes space activities and a competition to train at CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, with real astronauts.
Canada's space sector currently employs 10,000 highly skilled workers, generates $5.5 billion in Canada's economy annually, and averages $2 billion in export sales.
Space generates lucrative commercial opportunities for our companies. Morgan Stanley expects the global space market to triple in size to US$1.1 trillion by 2040.
The Government of Canada has invested more than $2.5 billion since 2015 in Canada's space sector, extending our participation in the International Space Station, providing funding to the Canadian Space Agency to test technologies in space, and helping Canadian companies scale up through the Strategic Innovation Fund.
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