Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

CSCA Calls for Increased Canadian Space R&D, X Prize-Style Competition

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 16, 2015
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TORONTO (CSCA PR) — On May 25th the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance announced that it would hold its pre-budget consultations from June 5 to August 7, 2015. However when the election was called on August 2nd the committee could no longer accept submissions. After the election it will be up to a new Standing Committee on Finance to determine the next course of action.

The CSCA did initiate a submission proposal and it is below. Once the new Standing Committee on Finance has reconvened, and should they request submissions, the CSCA will submit its proposal again, possibly with amendments if needed.

In our submission we respectfully requested;

  1. An increase in funding to the Canadian Space Agency’s Space Technology Development Program
  2. The creation of an X Prize style competition, with a specific initial mandate to fund the payload launch to orbit of the winners of three consecutive university led Canadian Satellite Design Challenges over a six year period.

Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA)
Pre-Budget Submission to the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

The Canadian Space Commerce Association will address two of the themes outlined by the Committee this year, Productivity and Jobs.

In the past 30 years we’ve seen nothing less than a wholesale transformation in how Canadians communicate, conduct financial transactions, manage our crops, view and react to natural disasters among many other day-to-day activities enabled and enhanced by satellites, and all the associated technology, whether it’s ground based or on-orbit.

These advances were achieved by a combination of private and public investment, including and importantly, Research and Development (R&D) funding.

Unfortunately, Canada is beginning to fall behind in R&D investment as a percentage of GDP as compared to other nations. According to the OECD[1], Canada’s investment in R&D overall has declined and now stands at 1.69% of GDP whereas the global average is 2.4%. What’s more, between the period of 2007-2012, Canada’s annual growth rate in R&D was -1.4% compared to a +2.0 for the OECD.

In space competitiveness, the Futron 2014 Space Competitiveness Index[2], shows that in 2011 Canada was surpassed by India and has now fallen into third tier status. Emerging space nations such as South Korea and Israel, also in the third tier, are increasing their competitiveness and are catching up to Canada.

Planned spending for Canada’s civil space program led by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is $483 million for 2015-16. Planned spending for the next two years respectively is $383 million and $322 million. The decrease in spending is attributed to the result of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission program major funding milestones having been met.

As this graph illustrates Canada’s civil space budget is on a downward slope.

[1] OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014

[2] Futron’s 2014 Space Competitiveness Index (SCI), Futron

Download the CSCA submission to read the full proposal: CSCA-Pre-Budget-Submission-August-2015