1. Jill Wyatt

    Good piece Bob. Thanks for urging us to be active citizens!! Jill Wyatt

    1. Peter Rakobowchuk

      Ever since a long-term space plan by former Canadian Space Agency president Steve MacLean was shelved, the country has been drifting along like a lost satellite. Hopefully, this will soon change when a new space strategy is unveiled.

  2. Perry Edmundson

    Well said, Dr. Thirsk! I sincerely hope that our government listens to the collective voice of our astronauts, space industry leaders, scientists and explorers and makes bold commitments to our nation’s future in space exploration.

  3. David Kendall

    Thanks, Bob; your comments are spot on.
    Canada has appropriately “punched above its weight” in the space realm for 45 of the 55 years that we have been in space – we were the third country in the world to design, build and have successfully flown a satellite in space; our engineers and scientists were vital to the Apollo program; our robotic arms in space have been crucial to the success of both the Shuttle program and the International Space Station; we were pioneers in the development of small, low-cost satellites that now dominate the commercial space sector; and we have been a trusted and important partner in many of the worlds most important space missions that continues with our seminal contribution to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Furthermore, space is an intrinsic and essential element in almost all aspects of the daily lives of the country, whether we know it or not, from secure and rapid communications to all corners of our vast land, to monitoring the changes to and security of our country through earth observation, to the ubiquitous and expanding applications of navigation and timing signals in all facets of both commercial and government services. However, as you have pointed out, Bob, we seem to have lost our way over the past decade with the lack of a vision, purpose and support for what should be a fundamentally important area of expertise, innovation and pride for the country.
    For most of the past half century, Canada has been a trusted second-tier nation in the space arena, however, we are now slipping quickly into the third-tier; a nation looking in at what is happening around us rather than being an essential contributor and reaping the benefits of such contributions. And this in an area that is expanding globally at a tremendous pace with over 70% of the wealth now being generated by the private sector.
    Let us hope that the government’s long promised new space strategy will be released soon with a visionary and sustainable plan for Canada to regain its longstanding position in this domain focussed on innovation, science and economic development.


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