The 2015 Canadian Space Summit was held in Vancouver by the Canadian Space Society from November 18th to November 20th, 2015. This year’s summit focused on “highlighting space research, building space business, and developing space policy.” This summit included a free public event on November 18th, as well as talks by Mr Sylvain Laporte, the president of the CSA and talks on Educational Outreach, Space Life Science, Planetary & Lunar Exploration, Space Law, and New Horizons on November 19th and 20th. AlbertaSat’s project manager, Charles Nokes, was grateful for the opportunity to be able attend the Canadian Space Summit.

On November 18th, Nokes’ day started at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre where he met Mark Senez (MDA), Wayne Ellis (CSS), Dr. Alma Barranco, and several University of British Columbia volunteers who were helping run the event. The Canadian Space Society Art and History Exhibit was set up outside the auditorium. This exhibit was an intriguing welcome and featured a collection of private pieces highlighting Canadian Space industry and heritage.  The highlight for  Nokes was and entertaining talk by Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Professor of Astronomy at UBC and astronomical superstar who presented on Canada’s involvement in the search for exoplanets through missions including the MOST satellite. After the talk Nokes’ met with team members from the University of Victoria CubeSat team to compare notes and discuss our projects.

The following day kicked off with breakfast and conversations at 8:00am. Nokes exchanged mission stories with Cass Hussmann, lead engineer of the University of Victoria CubeSat team.

The opening presentation on November 19th was given by Mr. Sylvain Laporte, the new head of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Mr. Laporte spoke about Canada’s strong history of aerospace R&D and contributions to the global space industry. He also discussed future projects, including the upcoming Canadian satellite mission RADARSAT Constellation and how it will contribute to Canada’s future aerospace growth.

After a short networking break Dr. Glynis Perrett, a geoscientist analyzing data from the Mars Curiosity rover, gave her take on the top 5 most impactful discoveries made by Curiosity so far.  Number one was the discovery of perchlorates and the rest of the necessary building blocks for organic life on Mars! The next talk was by Mr. Perry Edmundson from ARGO UTV, which is currently partnering on a lunar lander project with Canadensys Aerospace (you may remember Dr. Chris Sallaberger, CEO of Canadensys, from the ISSET Space Symposium). Next was a presentation from the only Canadian team participating in the Lunar X Prize, competing to be the first team to land a rover in the moon and drive 500 metres!

Dr. Jaymie Matthews returned for the next presentation, this time focussing on the BRITE CubeSats missions which are searching for variations in the brightness of distant stars! In the next session, Mr. Larry Reeves, President of the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Committee, talked about the CSDC, its merits and future growth.  Stay tuned as AlbertaSat gears up to participate in the fourth round of the CSDC beginning in September 2016!

Next we heard from Kate Howells, official representative for the Planetary Society in Canada. The Planetary Society was founded by Dr. Carl Sagan and is headed by none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy!  The Planetary Society recently launched LightSail, a test CubeSat to verify the functionality of solar sail technology for interstellar travel. Finally, Kirk Richardson gave a talk on the development of a simple platform for high schools to do science experiments in cubesats in space (similar to the ArduSat mission).

Following the sessions there was a dinner gala event held at the Vancouver lookout tower. Nokes met several interesting people, and the evening highlight was a presentation about Canada’s space history by notable space history author Rob Godwin.

Friday featured even more interesting sessions, including a talk from Zac Trolley (Project Engineer in Calgary, was shortlisted for MarsOne, International Pace University alumni) and Anne Wen (International Space University Alumni, Mission Control startup company). Zac and Anne presented on the concept of Open Innovation model and focused on sharing ideas between industries and markets. For example, applying technology developed for the space industry to the energy sector in Alberta.


Supporting the Canadian Space Industry


Do you think Canada should play more of a role in the global space sector? Our industry is lagging behind the rest of the world, despite the many companies, universities, and research initiatives focused on space here in Canada. Check out this petition to the government of Canada to redevelop a modern space strategy in our country: