Canadian Space Summit 2015 – November 20th

Today the summit kicked off with the Young Professionals’ Breakfast.  Participants had the opportunity to learn about opportunities for up and coming leaders in the space community and industry from four different “mentors”.  The mentors were Kate Howells (Planetary Society), Larry Reeves (CSDC, UrtheCast), Ian Christensen (Secure World Foundation, ISU 2007 SSP), and Dr. Cassandra Steer (McGill University).  Discussions ranged from the mentor’s background stories to the growing importance of space policy and ensuring it is developed appropriately.
The first talk after breakfast was given by Dr. Randy Gladstone, the Atmospheres Lead for the New Horizons Pluto mission, which was directed by Dr. Alan Stern (who spoke at the ISSET Space Symposium 2015). Next, Dr. Cassandra Steer presented on the Governance of Space in the 21st Century.  She pointed out that there has not been much international collaboration on space policy since the creation of the UN Outer Space Treaty in 1967 and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and that that will inevitably need to change.  In fact, the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act (H.R. 2262) recently passed by the United States Congress (which has since been signed by President Obama on Wednesday November 25, 2015) is the biggest foray into Space Policy in recent memory.  Eric Anderson, Co-Founder of Planetary Resources, called the Act “the single greatest recognition of property rights in history”. Some critics of the act argue that it contradicts the the Outer Space Treaty, effectively turning space mining into the gold rush of space.  Needless to say, space policy is hot topic on the rise.
Next, Kate Howells spoke about her role as one of the Canadian National Point of Contacts for the Space Generation Advisory Council.  The council advocates about space policy to the United Nations and encourages university students and young professionals to think about space policy.  Become a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council for opportunities to participate in international space policy matters.
The next presentation was given by Maria Manoli.  It focused on the intricacies and issues of private ownership of celestial bodies.  This tied very well back to the Outer Space Treaty. Anne Wen (ISU 2014 SSP) and Zac Trolley (ISU 2014 SSP) then gave a talk about Open Innovation in Space, a strategy for facilitating cooperation in the space sector. After the networking break, Mr. Rob Godwin returned to give further information about The Space Library. This is a portal for space history, art, information and expertise.  Accessing the library requires a subscription, however the aim is that funds be used to remunerate contributors to the library.   After lunch Scott Larsen, CEO of UrtheCast, showed some fascinating images and videos taken by their HD Camera mounted on the international space station.  This technology is opening all sorts of new possibilities.  From artistic landscapes, to helping the UN identify the destruction of Syria’s Temple of Bel, to this short film created by Pepsi, UrtheCast is providing all sorts of new perspectives.
The final session included talks by Dr. Howard Trottier about the Trottier Astronomical Observatory and Science Courtyard, by Dr. Deryck Persaud about the strategies using fatty acid supplementation to fight muscle atrophy in space, and finally talks by Cass Hussmann on a miniaturized reaction wheel system for CubeSats and a detection system for wildfires using nanosatellites.
Afterwards, Nokes was invited by Zac Trolley and Anne Wen to attend a dinner reunion of International Space University alumni.  It was a fascinating evening.  Nokes met several ISU alumni, including Matt Killick, a U of A graduate from the Materials Engineering program, and a supporter of AlbertaSat!
Finally, Saturday afternoon before returning to Edmonton, Nokes met with Jared Bottoms, one of the founding members of AlbertaSat (then known as AlbertaSat-1) who now works at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. Nokes and Bottoms spoke about AlbertaSat’s history and progress thus far.
Thus ended the 2015 CSS Space Summit.

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