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General

Part 6: 150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History

Posted April 24, 2017 by Chuck Black

Bomarc Missiles, The “Prevailing Wisdom” of Unaware Politicians, Unemployed Avro Employees, NASA, Canadair, CAI & the Origins of Spar Aerospace

Bomarc. Photo c/o Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.

         By Robert Godwin

Canada’s aerospace raison d’être has always derived from its immense size, its location in the far north as a vast, barely-tracked wilderness of incalculable resources and the logical requirements relating to defence, communications, utilization and exploration which naturally follow from its size and location.

The Avro Arrow was to be replaced by a surface to air missile, built by Boeing in the United States, named the Bomarc.  The Bomarc was a liquid fueled interceptor with a static launching site and a limited range. It was also designed to be equipped with a nuclear warhead.

At the moment that Canada committed to this weapon for its defence, the prevailing wisdom was already changing in the United States and the Soviet Union, against the usefulness of static-site liquid fueled rockets. They were considered easy targets and they took too long to prepare for launch.

In the Soviet Union even rocket genius Sergei Korolev was struggling to convince Nikita Khrushchev that the rocket which had launched Sputnik was useful as a weapon. In England, Geoffrey Pardoe, one of the principal designers of Britain’s Blue Streak was fighting a similar fight with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

However, in the United States dozens of contractors were still lining up to build missiles. The new technology of rockets was outpacing the social awareness of the politicians in charge of commissioning them.

At the exact time that 13,000 Avro employees went in search of employment, the United States government was looking for aerospace engineers to come and help its newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to put a man into space. Within weeks of the Avro lay-offs dozens of engineers headed south of the border and took up positions at NASA, McDonnell, Douglas, Boeing, Bell, Grumman and elsewhere. Many went back to England where they were employed by de Havilland and Hawker Siddeley.

The main beneficiary of this “brain drain” was NASA where people like James Chamberlin, John Hodge, William Carpentier, Len Packham, Owen Maynard and two dozen others took up positions in the fledgling American space program, often as department heads. Over the next ten years they would play an important role in putting humans on the moon.

Just four days after the cancellation of the Arrow, the Black Brant was fired for the first time on a test stand in Valcartier. The cancellation of Arrow represented something of a windfall for Canadair. The management at the Montreal based company now knew that it had another chance to bid on the construction of Canada’s next generation of fighter aircraft. Canadair had flourished all through the 1950s building more than 1500 variants of the North American Aviation Sabre fighter. At about the same time de Havilland had been building the Grumman S2-F Tracker anti-submarine aircraft.

Sabres of 421 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force at RCAF Station Grostenquin, France in the 1950’s. The Canadair Sabre was a jet fighter aircraft built by Canadair in Montreal, PQ under licence from North American Aviation. According to the wikipedia entry, “a variant of the North American F-86 Sabre, it was produced until 1958 and used primarily by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) until replaced with the Canadair CF-104 in 1962. Several other air forces also operated the aircraft.” Photo c/o Canada’s Air Forces, 1914–1999

The CAI barely acknowledged the huge loss of jobs at Avro and began to encourage more cooperation with the United States, both for fighters and for space. In early March 1959, in response to the notion that Canada should join in on a Commonwealth space program, Herbert Ribner of the CAI expressed his opinion that Canada would be better to ally itself with the USA.

Less than a month after that, in April 1959, the Diefenbaker government announced its intentions to design a satellite to be launched by the United States. At first it was expected that the satellite would be built in the USA, with the stated intention that it would be used to probe the upper atmosphere from above. If it could be built and launched successfully the satellite was expected to reveal hitherto unforeseen insights into the nature of the ionosphere and perhaps resolve some of the problems with long range communications that had been dogging governments for generations. Two weeks later the British government announced its intention to follow Canada’s lead and launch its own space program with the help of the United States.

Canada’s first real satellite was proposed by John Herbert Chapman of the NRC in Ottawa. Chapman knew that to be able to study the ionosphere from above, his satellite would need to operate in a frequency range that would require extremely long antennae. Chapman knew Phil Lapp, who was still at de Havilland’s missile division in Downsview Ontario, so he contacted him and suggested that he visit the office of George Klein who worked near to Chapman at NRC. Klein had devised a clever device which could be used as an antenna but could also be packed into a very tight space. This so-called STEM antenna could be deployed without any overly complicated mechanisms. It was perfect for space projects.

The Canadian built STEM antenna used in the Alouette-1 satellite. The compact, flat, but flexible metallic bar unrolls and bends inward to become a rigid cylinder able to be used as a satellite antenna.  Photo c/o Canadian Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) collection #1992.0357.00.

Klein was another graduate of the University of Toronto. He was born in Hamilton in 1904 and by the time he was 39 he had already earned an MBE from King George. Klein had an uncanny knack for invention and in July of 1951 he had been returning from a trip to England aboard the Cunard ship Franconia when he had what was perhaps his greatest idea.

Evidently Klein liked to roll his own cigarettes and it was while standing on the deck of the Franconia he rolled up a cigarette paper and had a revelation. It had occurred to him that he could make a similar roll-up device out of metal which might be a useful remedy to a problem that he had been given to solve.

What was needed was an antenna which could be dropped out of an aircraft over rugged terrain, or even water, and be used to send back data. Working with another NRC genius named Harry Stevinson, Klein concocted a workable device which would ultimately lead to the black box concept seen in most of today’s modern aircraft.

Lapp studied Klein’s invention and took it back to de Havilland where the engineers went to work to make a version that would be long enough for Chapman’s satellite. This innocuous device would become so successful it would go on to create an aerospace industry behemoth – SPAR Aerospace. 

Robert Godwin.
_____________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books, the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum and an American Astronautical Society History Committee Member.

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music.  

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Last Week, “The International Geophysical Year, the Avro Arrow & Jetliner, Lapp, Stehling, Bull & Blue Streak” in part five of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.

Next Week, “Canada’s First Satellite, the F104 “Widowmaker,” the Hawker P1127 (which eventually became the Harrier) and More Politics” as part seven of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History” continues.

On sale now, at Apogee Books.

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General

Part 6: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

Posted April 23, 2017 by Chuck Black

The 1980’s, A “National Space Agency,” Canadarm’s Rollout, The Second Three Year Space Plan & Canada’s First Astronauts


Scan c/o Globe and Mail.
By Graham Gibbs & W. M. (“Mac“) Evans

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants.

In late 1979 and early 1980 the Ministry of State for Science and Technology (MOSST) and the Air Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) independently analyzed the existing approach to space in Canada and both concluded that there were weaknesses that limited the scope and benefits of the program. 

Both also concluded that correction of these deficiencies was essential to the more efficient and effective use of the government’s space resources. The AIAC argued strongly for the formation of a national space agency. 
In response to these concerns, the Prime Minister in July 1980 assigned to MOSST “the leadership role with respect to space policy and development” and transferred responsibility for the Interdepartmental Committee on Space (ICS) from the Minister of Communications to the Minister of MOSST. Thus, in 1980, MOSST became the lead agency in the areas of space research and development, policy development, and coordination of space activities among government departments and agencies.
In April 1981, John Roberts, the Minister of State for Science and Technology announced a three-year space plan for Canada (1981/82 to 1983/84). This was the first time that a consolidated space plan had been considered by the government. The plan was aimed at building upon Canada’s strengths to use space for communications and science, while at the same time developing a major new thrust in the area of remote sensing. 
As outlined in the April 9th, 1981 United Press International (UPI) post, “Science Minister John Roberts Announced an Increase in Federal Funding for Space Research,” Canada’s first three year space plan was part of a proposal to centralize Federal space activities into a single agency, while also providing a funding increase for space and other areas of scientific research in order to assist with moving the plan forward. Roberts proposed a $64Mln CDN increase (to $260Mln CDN) for space research, along with a further increase of $200Mln CDN (to $1.5Bln) in all other areas of Federally funded scientific research and development. Screenshot c/o UPI archives.  
More than 60% of the new funding of $64Mln CDN was dedicated to remote sensing projects including a new basic R&D program to give Canada the technological and industrial competence to develop and establish a remote sensing satellite carrying a synthetic aperture radar (which eventually became known as RADARSAT). In making his announcement, Mr. Roberts indicated that it was the government’s intention to update the three year space plan every year.

During this period, Canada also delivered the first of what would become multiple Canadarm’s to NASA. A post (unfortunately, now deleted) on the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) website described very eloquently the moment that Canadarm sprung into the consciousness of people everywhere in the world:

The morning of Friday, November 13, 1981, yielded a great emotional moment of pride for all Canadians. Shortly past 10:00 a.m. EST on that date, a majestic sight was broadcast on every television screen around the world. 

Through the aft window of shuttle Columbia, a video camera operated by the two STS-2 astronauts, Commander Joe Engle and Pilot Richard Truly had begun to transmit the first images of the deployed Canadarm. 

The arm, bent in an inverted V shape position, shined against the jet-black background of space, under a milky blue portion of the earth. The Canada wordmark with the red maple leaf flag prominently displayed on the upper arm boom of the Canadarm were a proud and clear statement about Canada’s official contribution to the Space Shuttle program. Canadarm quickly became the icon around the world for Canada’s high technology capabilities. 

The importance of the Canadarm to the Shuttle Program is indicated by the fact that this first flight of the arm took place on just the second Shuttle flight.

In December 1981, Mr. Roberts announced the government’s second three-year space plan (1982/83 to 1984/85) that in essence added one more year to the previously announced plan. This new plan increased the government’s expenditures on space for these three years by 38% and included Canadian participation in the L-SAT Communications Satellite Program of ESA (justified on the grounds that it would support the prime contractor policy) and project definition studies for a new communications satellite program (MSAT) to provide communications services to mobile users anywhere in Canada.

In 1982, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the flight of Alouette I, NASA extended an invitation for Canada to fly its own astronauts on the Shuttle. This offer was clearly seen as a “thank you“ to Canada for providing the Canadarm.

The government recognized immediately the significance of this offer and National Research Council (NRC), as the only organization in the government with human space flight experience, was assigned responsibility to establish the Canadian Astronaut Program Office.

The NASA offer was for two payload specialist flights, but NRC had ambitions to ensure Canada would be ready for additional flight opportunities, including flights to the space station that was on the drawing boards at NASA. In July, 1983 NRC placed an ad in Canadian newspapers seeking candidates.

A 1983 help wanted ad. Image c/o Ron Riesenbach’s Blog.

Canada’s first six astronauts were announced in December, after a country-wide competition involving more than 4400 applicants. Ten months later, in October 1984 Marc Garneau became the first Canadian to fly in space. A little over a year later, the Shuttle that had taken Marc into orbit exploded on launch killing all seven astronauts on board.

It is interesting to note that Canada entered the human space flight arena primarily to support the Canadian Space industry. There was no Canadian user need for either the Canadarm or the Astronauts, but the space industry needed a major program to follow-on to CTS.

But public reaction to the Canadarm and the astronaut programs was so positive and so strong that these one shot efforts created the policy imperative to make human space flight a permanent part of the Canadian Space Program and would lead eventually to the creation of the Canadian Space Agency.

________________________________________________________________________
Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of “Five Ages of Canada – A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation.”

William McDonald “Mac” Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast.

Last Week: Winding up the 1970’s, The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Spar Aerospace, MacDonald Dettwiler, a Seminal 1974 “Canadian Policy for Space” & the Canadarm,” in part five of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets.”

Next Week: “More on the 1980’s” as part seven of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets,” continues.

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General

Part 5: 150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History

Posted April 16, 2017 by Chuck Black

The International Geophysical Year, the Avro Arrow & Jetliner, Lapp, Stehling, Bull & Blue Streak

         By Robert Godwin

Craphic c/o Canada Post.

Canada’s aerospace raison d’être has always derived from its immense size, its location in the far north as a vast, barely-tracked wilderness of incalculable resources and the logical requirements relating to defence, communications, utilization and exploration which naturally follow from its size and location.

In 1955 President Eisenhower announced that the United States would contribute to the 75th anniversary of the International Polar Year by launching an orbiting satellite. This new scientific global initiative was to be called the International Geophysical Year (IGY) because scientists would now study the whole planet, rather than just the polar regions. Kurt Stehling was now in Princeton New Jersey working for the Naval Research Laboratory and he was assigned to be chief of propulsion on the as-yet untested launch vehicle for the proposed IGY satellite.

Russia had played a significant role in the two previous IPY events and it was only logical that its successor, the Soviet Union, would do the same. Soviet scientists informed their western counterparts at the Copenhagen International Astronautical Congress that they would be attempting their own satellite launch, but despite these comments the Western world was utterly stunned when on October 4th 1957 the world’s first spacecraft, Sputnik, went soaring into orbit.

In Malton Ontario, on that very same day, thousands of Canadian aerospace workers were distracted by their own remarkable achievement. The roll-out of Canada’s latest, home-grown, fighter-interceptor; designated the CF-105, or Avro Arrow.

Designed by a team of some of the brightest and best engineers in the world, the Arrow was like something from the future. It was packed from stem to stern with the latest aerospace technology and, should it live up to expectations, it represented a truly giant leap forward in aviation. But the Cold War was in full swing and while the Arrow may have been futuristic, the Soviet’s little metal ball passing overhead at 25 times the speed of sound stole the limelight.

Phil Lapp, the U of T engineer who had gone to MIT, had spent much of his early career flying across the Canadian wilderness, mapping and recording mineral deposits and other potential resources. By the 1950s he had assumed an important role at de Havilland in Downsview and as soon as he heard about Sputnik he resolved to create an in-house group to look at the very-real new science of astronautics. He called his group the Canadian Astronautical Society and they held their first full meeting at the de Havilland Missile Division on January 8th 1958.

Lapp’s group spent the next year working up proposals for high-altitude rockets and satellite tracking facilities. They built Canada’s first space tracking station using spare parts and donated money and used it to keep an eye on the sudden flurry of American and Soviet satellites.

The United States government had launched its first satellite at the end of January 1958; seven weeks later the Navy rocket which Kurt Stehling had been working on, launched Vanguard 1 into an orbit that was expected to last 1000 years. Later that summer the United States consolidated its efforts into a civilian space agency named the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), based on the recommendations of the Rocket and Satellite Research Panel. This small group of scientists included Stehling, who was now writing science papers on almost a monthly basis, ranging on subjects as diverse as ion propulsion to relativistic time dilatation.

In April 1958 it was revealed that Gerald Bull’s oxygen-hydrogen gun experiments at CARDE were being considered as a second stage for a Canadian satellite launch. The plan was to place the satellite atop a lightweight version of Bull’s gun and place the satellite and gun combination on an American Redstone missile. The press dubbed the plan “Canucknik.” Although there is no doubt that the technology existed, Defence Minister George Pearkes and Brigadier Waldock, who ran CARDE, were quick to deny the reports. Canada’s satellite would have to wait.

In the summer of 1958 Phil Lapp sent the Canadian Astronautical Society secretary, Arthur Maine, to attend the International Astronautical Congress in Amsterdam. While there, Maine came into contact with the British de Havilland missile engineers who were working on a long range ballistic missile named the Blue Streak. After much discussion it was decided that the Blue Streak might be used as the basis for a Commonwealth Space Program. Maine reported back to Lapp that Canada should get involved immediately in this proposal and inaugurate a third contestant in the space race.

At this moment in history governments around the world had become obsessed with the notion that missiles would soon make aircraft obsolete. Missile divisions had already started to evolve to meet this new challenge and Canada had stayed in this arena by building increasingly advanced guidance mechanisms for air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

By the end of 1958 the Canadian Aeronautical Institute (CAI), a four-year old aircraft industry group, started to contemplate taking on a role in the space and missile arena. The CAI had about 1000 members and was the industry voice for more than four dozen aerospace corporations including de Havilland, Avro, Canadair, the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Trans Canada Airlines, Rolls Royce Canada and many others.

Most of these companies had long legacies in the aircraft business but few were involved with missile and rocket technology with the notable exceptions of de Havilland, Bristol and Canadair.  Despite these three companies being within the inner circle of CAI, there was a muted response from the members about getting involved in the new business of space flight. At this time the CAI chairman was a UTIAS professor named Herbert Ribner, who had originally worked at NASA’s predecessor, the NACA in Washington.  Ribner’s vice-chairman was David Bogdanoff, a Michigan native who worked at Canadair in Montreal, a company that was owned by General Dynamics in the United States.

In January 1959 Phil Lapp and Arthur Maine urged the Prime Minister of Canada, John Diefenbaker, and his Defence Secretary George Pearkes, to allow the CAS to send official representatives to a Commonwealth Space Summit scheduled for August in London. The request was declined.

January 1959 CAS submission to Prime Minister Diefenbaker. Graphics c/o Apogee Books.

At this exact time the government of Canada was embroiled in a political miasma and seemed unsure of what to do with Canada’s air defence. In the mid 1950s the previous government had commissioned the Avro Arrow as a replacement for the wildly successful CF-100 fighter. The new fighter/interceptor was to be designed and built by Avro in Malton Ontario and was to be on the cutting edge of aircraft design.

The team assembled in Malton Ontario included engineers from England, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Germany and elsewhere and they set about building an aircraft that would be uniquely suited to Canada’s specific needs. It had to be capable of long-range interception, it had to carry the best possible weapons systems, it had to be able to fly faster and higher than almost anything else in the sky and it needed to be airborne by the end of the decade.

Since its first roll-out in October of 1957 the Arrow had gone through an assortment of test flights and was still awaiting its home-grown high powered engine, the Orenda Iroquois. This engine had outperformed almost every engine in the world during test-bed trials. But despite all indications that the Arrow would be a world-beating aircraft, at the beginning of 1959 the Diefenbaker government chose to cancel all further development and effectively consigned Avro Canada to a long slow decline into oblivion. Like its ill-fated predecessor the Avro Jetliner the Arrow suffered by false comparisons.

The history books all still say that the de Havilland Comet was the first civilian jet transport to take to the air, which is technically true. However, what the history books rarely reveal is that the Comet flew a few inches off the ground and then settled back onto the runway. Two weeks later the Jetliner took off and flew for over an hour at 13,000 feet. If we are to use such unfavourable comparisons then the Wright Brothers first flight should perhaps be overshadowed by the Maxim flight of the 1890s which also left the ground for a few inches.

If the Jetliner had gone into production it would have beaten its first real in-service competitor by more than five years. While history tends to lay the blame for Avro’s demise squarely on Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, there are those who worked on the Jetliner who feel that the St Laurent government’s decision to cancel the Jetliner was the mortal blow. It certainly didn’t make it any easier that much later Diefenbaker accused Avro of complacency, and of only being successful because of government largesse.

The irony of this remark now resonates with sixty years of hindsight. In fact government subsidies underwrite almost every major aerospace program in the world. Canada was no different and Avro was no more blameworthy than Boeing or Douglas or de Havilland when it came to taking handouts from the taxpayer.

Prime Minister Diefenbaker famously remarked that Canada needed its aircraft manufacturing industry, but if Avro disappeared, the country would still have de Havilland and Canadair. Although technically this was true, the comment wantonly obfuscated the fact that thousands of highly trained people would lose their jobs, and even worse, leave the country.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened. 

Robert Godwin.
_____________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books, the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum and an American Astronautical Society History Committee Member.

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music.  

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Last Week, “Radar, Better Radar (of the “Synthetic Aperture” Variety), Project Quill, CARDE, Velvet Glove & Black Brant” in part four of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.

Next Week, “Bomarc Missiles, The “Prevailing Wisdom” of Unaware Politicians, Unemployed Avro Employees, NASA, Canadair, CAI & the Origins of Spar Aerospace” as part six of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History” continues.

On sale now, at Apogee Books.

Full Story »

 
General

Part 5: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

Posted April 16, 2017 by Chuck Black

Winding up the 1970’s, The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Spar Aerospace, 

MacDonald Dettwiler, a Seminal 1974 “Canadian Policy for Space” & the Canadarm


By Graham Gibbs & W. M. (“Mac“) Evans

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants.

The 1970’s, Part 3

The 1970’s also saw the  beginning of Canada’s interests in using satellites for observing the earth. During the 1960’s, NASA had launched several weather satellites, including the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) and the NIMBUS satellites. Canadian scientists, primarily at the National Research Council (NRC) and the Meteorological Services of Canada (MSC), had participated in using these satellites on an experimental basis. In 1971, the MSC set up a Satellite Data Laboratory at its new headquarters in Downsview, Ontario. 

Canadian scientists, primarily with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), had become active in pursuing the possibilities of remote sensing satellites to monitor events on earth.  

In 1969 they established the Interdepartmental Committee on Resource Satellites and Remote Airborne Sensing to oversee Canada’s growing interest in this area. In 1971 the scientists were able to convince the government to establish the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS) within the Department of Energy Mines and Resources (EMR), now Natural Resources Canada, to be the lead agency in coordinating remote sensing activities in Canada.

An agreement was concluded for a joint experimental program with NASA using the first remote sensing satellite to be launched, the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) 1, launched in 1972 and later renamed LANDSAT 1. DOC agreed to convert the Prince Albert Radar Laboratory so it could receive data from LANDSAT 1 and let a contract to a start-up firm in Vancouver called MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) for a quick-look facility for rapid processing of the data from the satellite. 

MDA produced a world-leading processor which allowed Canada to process the first images from LANDSAT 1 before the Americans did. MDA would go on to be the world leader in the supply of ground receiving and processing systems for remote sensing satellites.

Around 1974 NASA commenced planning for a satellite (called SEASAT) that would carry a radar instrument to provide images of the earth, by day, or by night and through clouds (the LANDSAT satellite carried an optical instrument that could only take images in sunlight and on cloudless days). This was of great interest to CCRS and an agreement was signed with NASA that allowed Canada to receive SEASAT data upon its launch in 1978. 

An advanced digital processor built by MDA under contract from CCRS allowed Canada to produce the world’s first digitally processed image from a satellite. The MDA processor became the world standard. SEASAT failed a few months after launch and when NASA announced that it had no intentions of replacing the satellite, CCRS and the scientific community in Canada launched a study program (called SURSAT) to investigate the possibilities for a Canadian radar satellite. 

In the midst of this rapid growth in interest in space by a number of government departments, the Ministry of State for Science and Technology (MOSST) issued in 1974 a “Canadian Policy for Space.” This was a seminal document that set the guidelines for the future of the Canadian Space Program. 

The Policy stipulated that Canada’s primary interest in space would be to use it for applications that contribute directly to the achievement of national goals. This provided the policy support for the recommendation in the 1967 Chapman Report (previously discussed in part two of this series) that Canada’s space program should move away from science towards applications, particularly in communications and remote sensing. 

Some government policies enjoy broad bipartisan support across party lines over the decades. Such is the case with the 1974 “Canadian Policy for Space,” which defined Canada’s primary focus in space as the development of applications that “contribute directly to the achievement of national goals.” Those goals were reiterated as recently as the May 2007 “Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage Report” and the June 2009 “Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage Progress Report.” It’s quite likely that this policy will be reiterated again in June 2017, when the current Federal government is scheduled to unveil an updated Canadian space policy. Graphic c/o Ic.gc.ca.

The Canadian Policy for Space specifically identified the need to support the development of the Canadian space industry by moving government space research and development out into industry, by using government purchasing policies to encourage industry development and by requesting departments to submit plans to ensure that Canada’s satellite systems are designed, developed and constructed in Canada by Canadians, using Canadian components. 

This latter part of the Canadian Policy for Space led to the development of the Prime Contractor Policy adopted by the government in 1976 as the primary means for supporting the development of the Canadian space industry. 

The Prime Contractor Policy supported the creation in Canada of a single company, SPAR Aerospace, (which purchased the space assets of RCA and Northern Electric in 1976) capable of producing complete satellite systems. 

The government supported this effort through various means including: the expansion of the David Florida Laboratories to provide the facilities required to integrate and test complete satellites before launch; negotiating progressively higher Canadian content provisions in future Telesat satellite procurement’s which helped SPAR become the prime contractor for the ANIK D series of satellites; paying the so-called premium for Canadian content on the ANIK C and ANIK D satellites; and creating a contracted-out space technology development program.

George Page, the deputy-director of the Kennedy Space Centre (on right) and Claus Wagner-Bartak (with mustache and glasses), along with other employees from North York’s Spar Aerospace Ltd., Ottawa’s National Research Council and CAE giving the thumbs up to the Canadarm they developed for the U.S. space shuttle in 1981. The 1970’s was a tough time for Spar, which was formed in 1967 when the Canadian managers of De Havilland’s Special Products and Applied Research Division, bought the division and renamed it. But the Federal governments decision to support a single Canadian company capable of creating complete satellite systems and other large space projects gave Spar a role it held until 1999, when that role was taken over by MDA. Photo c/o Toronto Public Library.

In direct contradiction to the recommendation in the Chapman Report that called for a central coordinating and contracting body for space, the Canadian Policy for Space directed that the utilization of space systems should be through activities proposed and budgeted by departments within their established mandates. This effectively put a stake in the heart of those proposing the creation of a national space agency. It is interesting to note that about a decade later, this same Ministry of State prepared the proposal for, and got government approval for, the creation of a centralized Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The Canadian Policy for Space recognized the importance of international cooperation to Canada’s space program (most of the programs noted above were international cooperative efforts) and encouraged the further participation of Canada in international space activities. This policy supported the underlying rationale for Canada becoming a Closely Cooperating State of the European Space Agency (ESA) in January 1979. 

Finally, the Canadian Policy for Space noted that “Canada will continue to rely on other nations for launch vehicles and services and we should enhance access to such services by participating in the supplying nation’s space program.” This was the policy rationale for Canada undertaking the Canadarm program for the US Space shuttle system.

In response to NASA’s invitation for foreign involvement in their “Post Apollo” program (i.e. the space transportation system now known at the Space Shuttle); Canada decided to contribute the remote manipulator system (eventually named the “Canadarm“). This decision was based in part upon an unsolicited proposal for the design and development of a robotic arm for the shuttle received from a consortium of Canadian industries led by SPAR Aerospace. After considerable debate in the Interdepartmental Committee on Space (ICS) it was decided to assign responsibility for the program to the NRC.

This decision can be seen as another reflection of the dictate of the Canadian Policy for Space that space activities should be conducted by departments within their established mandates. This decision broke the hegemony of the Department of Communications as the only department capable of putting hardware into space. 

In 1974 a Project Office was established in NRC to manage the program and on July 18, 1975, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between NASA and NRC for a cooperative program for the development and procurement of a Space Shuttle Attached Remote Manipulator System (later to be called Canadarm). 
Under the terms of the MOU, Canada undertook to develop and deliver to NASA one arm and NASA agreed to procure at least an additional three arms. Consistent with the directive of the Canadian Policy for Space to support Canadian industry, NRC contracted the design and construction of the first arm to SPAR. The technical challenges of building the world’s first space robot were formidable and had the added complexity of being associated with a human flight program. But once again, as in the Alouette days, Canadian engineers from both government and industry were up to the challenge. 
The 1970’s saw the most dramatic development in the history of the Canadian Space Program. It was the most prolific period in the development of space policies culminating in the Canadian Policy for Space announced by Madame Jeanne Sauvé, the Minister of State for Science and Technology in 1974. 
The program shifted from being science based to being based on the pursuit of applications to meet national needs. Canada became the first country in the world to have its own domestic satellite communications system operating in geosynchronous orbit. Development of the Canadian space industry became a major priority resulting in the emergence of the industrial capability to produce complete satellite systems. 
During the decade, Canada had more satellites launched than at any other period before or since. The government’s annual space budget grew from less than $20Mln CDN in 1970 to more than $90Mln CDN by the end of the decade. More departments were becoming interested in participating in the program and by the end of the decade, DOC’s share of the government’s space expenditures had fallen from its domination in 1970 to less than 40%. Major new players on the scene were NRC (with Canadarm) and the Department of Energy Mines and Resources (with its remote sensing activities).
The decade ended with the untimely death in 1979 of Dr. Chapman, the chief architect of the Canadian Space Program.
________________________________________________________________________
Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of “Five Ages of Canada – A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation.”

William McDonald “Mac” Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast.

Last Week: “More of the 1970’s, “Equal Access” to Communications, “Improved Industrial Capability” and the Hermes Communication Satellite,” in part four of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets.

Next Week: “The 1980’s, A “National Space Agency,” Canadarm’s Rollout, The Second Three Year Space Plan & Canada’s First Astronauts” as part six of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets,” continues.

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Part 4: 150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History

Posted April 9, 2017 by Chuck Black

Radar, Better Radar (of the “Synthetic Aperture” Variety), Project Quill, 

CARDE, Velvet Glove & Black Brant

Galileo and his telescope. Graphic c/o National Geographic.

         By Robert Godwin

Canada’s aerospace raison d’être has always derived from its immense size, its location in the far north as a vast, barely-tracked wilderness of incalculable resources and the logical requirements relating to defence, communications, utilization and exploration which naturally follow from its size and location.

It could be argued that the first person to engage in remote sensing was Galileo Galilei back in 1609. He didn’t invent the telescope, but he seems to have been the first to realise that it could reveal previously unattainable information from impossibly remote distances.

A few decades later Sir Isaac Newton discovered that a simple prism could unfold the secrets of light, no matter how distant the source. More than a century later William Wollaston discovered that the spectrum which had been revealed by Newton’s prism contained dark lines; this was the birth of the spectrometer.

But the next major breakthrough in true remote sensing would have to wait until the Second World War with the intense development of “radar.” The idea for “radio detection and ranging” had been around for several decades but it would take the great conflict of the 1940s to accelerate the technology into practical use.

By the end of the war every government in the world was aware of radar, although most people had little understanding that it worked by bouncing a pulse of radio waves off a distant target and then collecting the echo. It could do this through any weather.

At the end of the war the Douglas Aircraft Company in California formed the RAND group to study the potential of an earth-orbiting satellite. Their secret 1946-47 reports clearly outlined the use of satellites for weather forecasting, observation and communications. The prime military value in such a project was being able to study the ionosphere (to better understand communications interference) and to see bomb crater damage after a nuclear strike. However, an onboard radar transmitter wasn’t even considered by RAND because the technology was still too big and primitive to be mounted in their proposed satellite, which only had a payload capacity of 10lbs, so they suggested using a powerful optical camera or possibly a television camera.

One of the fundamental truths about radar is that the amount of detail in the image is affected by the physical size of the antenna that sends out the original pulse. A bigger antenna means more detail. In 1953 Kurt Stehling seems to have anticipated many of the problems associated with using radar from space, including the need for a large antenna and suitable equipment to transmit the data to the ground.

In 1951 an engineer at Goodyear working on the top secret Atlas ICBM had proposed the idea that a radar antenna might be able to operate while in motion, effectively simulating a much bigger array. Six years later, just such a device, installed on an aircraft flying in a straight line at a constant altitude, was able to create an image of an airport in Michigan. The image was crude and distorted because the aircraft was never truly flying straight, but the engineers who were involved knew that given enough advances in computing power, this was a problem that could be solved by mathematics.

The value of this new “synthetic aperture radar” (SAR) was that it had the potential to collect huge swathes of data in extreme detail. However, before computers could catch up and begin to compensate for all of the variables in this system, it was realised that a satellite is not buffeted by winds and its course is much more predictable. Almost immediately the United States Air Force began a secret project named “Quill” which would place a primitive SAR in the nose of an Agena booster and place it into orbit. Its goal was, like the RAND proposal, to see if it could detect the location of nuclear bomb craters and report that information quickly to the ground. Quill was launched in December of 1964 and worked perfectly.

While radar was finally beginning to peer through the haze, atmospheric interference was still a major problem for communications and the Canadian government soon recognised the potential to use rockets for studying the upper atmosphere.

The Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) in Valcartier, Quebec was chosen as the central R&D clearing house for this new technology. CARDE was part of the Defense Research Board (DRB) which operated as a fourth arm of the military establishment. The DRB was a post-WWII offshoot of the much older National Research Council (NRC). From 1916 until 1947 the NRC had been responsible for both civilian-industrial scientific research and military research. After 1947 the DRB took over the solely military programs and the NRC reverted to its role of aiding civilian industrial and academic research.

Today the DRB is known as Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). By giving this important new technology to CARDE it clearly shows that the rocket was, even in Canada, considered first and foremost as a weapon.

One of the first advanced rocket programs undertaken at CARDE was an air to air missile named “Velvet Glove” which was to be used on Canadian fighter planes. Canadair, a major aircraft manufacturer in Montreal had initially been designing this advanced missile to be used on the CF-100, but soon plans were announced for a supersonic fighter and the Velvet Glove was to be reassigned to this new aircraft.

However, in 1954 the Velvet Glove program was cancelled in favour of an as-yet untested American built missile. This cancellation put many engineers’ jobs at risk in Montreal and alerted the government to the need for more high-technology work in the aerospace sector.

A high powered oxygen hydrogen gun had also been installed at CARDE for firing projectiles at speeds of up to 14,000 feet per second. Gerald Bull was using this gun to fire different shapes of projectiles to test their flight qualities and also to see how different materials reacted to extremely high temperatures. One of the purposes of this was to see if an anti-missile missile could be designed and built.

The same year that Velvet Glove was cancelled a new large sounding rocket named the Raven was being developed in England to send payloads out into space and bring them back at high speed. The Bristol Aircraft Company was asked to adapt this missile for Canada’s specific needs. A new fuel was developed at CARDE and the rocket was renamed the “Black Brant.”

Canada was on the front edge of ABM technology and the Black Brant was one of the missiles being proposed for this purpose, but it would never be fired in anger. It was adapted by Albert Fia of Alberta to probe the upper atmosphere with a host of instruments in an attempt to get a better understanding of why long-range radio communications could still be interrupted by space weather from the sun. The Black Brant family of rockets would become one of Canada’s most important aerospace products.

Robert Godwin.
_____________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books, the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum and an American Astronautical Society History Committee Member.

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music.  

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Last Week, “Rockets, Mosquitoes, Lancaster’s, UTIAS, and the Cold War” in part three of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.

Next Week, “The International Geophysical Year, the Avro Arrow & Jetliner, Lapp, Stehling, Bull & Blue Streak,” as part five of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History” continues.

On sale now, at Apogee Books.

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Part 4: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

Posted April 9, 2017 by Chuck Black

More of the 1970’s, “Equal Access” to Communications, “Improved Industrial Capability” and the Hermes Communication Satellite 


The Hermes communications satellite. Graphic c/o CSA.

By Graham Gibbs & W. M. (“Mac“) Evans

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants.

The 1970’s, Part 2

During the 1970, the Department of Communications (DOC) had been conducting studies of advanced satellite communications concepts with a view to using the newly approved 14/12 GHz band to provide direct communications services via satellite to low cost ground terminals. 

The motivation for these studies was the government’s stated policy that Canadians, no matter where they lived, should have equal access to the rapid evolution in communications services.

The newly approved frequency band for communications satellites offered the potential for the ubiquitous provision of telephone, television, tele-education, tele-medicine and a variety of other applications using ground terminals no more than 0.6 metres in size. But the technologies for using this new band were not yet available, and no satellite had yet been designed to take advantage of this new potential.

After extensive negotiations with NASA and considerable debate in government, DOC concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA in April 1971 for the Communications Technology Satellite Program (CTS) as a replacement for the cancelled ISIS III satellite. 

The common objectives for the program were: 

  • To advance the state of the art by developing a satellite communications system to operate at higher powers and higher frequencies than existing systems, thus making possible direct communications with low-cost ground terminals in individual homes and communities; and 
  • To conduct communications and technology experiments to evaluate the economic, social and political impacts of the future introduction of new services such as two-way tele- education and tele-medicine, direct broadcasting via satellite, and special community services.

Canada was to design, build and operate the spacecraft while the US was to provide the high-power tube for the satellite and launch the satellite. Use of the satellite was to be shared equally between the two countries. 

Canada had an additional objective stemming from the industrial setback of the Telesat procurement decision (as discussed in part three of this series). The government saw the CTS program as the vehicle for improving our industrial capability to design and manufacture complete communications satellites and subsystems for the domestic and export markets.

To accomplish this in such a high risk advanced technology development program, DOC established a unique program management structure that integrated the skills and expertise of government and industrial personnel into one team. This ensured that responsibility for the program clearly rested with DOC and that the development of project management skills and technological expertise occurred in industry. 

As will be shown later, this unique structure was fundamental to the rapid growth of the Canadian space industry in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. There is no doubt that the CTS program became one of the most significant tools in the development of an internationally competitive space industry in Canada.

CTS was launched on January 17, 1976 and named Hermes. The satellite was operated until contact with the satellite was lost in November 1979 (almost two years after its design life). At the time of its launch, it was the most powerful communications satellite ever launched, and was the first to operate in the new 14/12 GHz band. The communications experiments conducted on Hermes pioneered direct broadcasting of TV to homes and demonstrated the feasibility of providing a host of new services to rural and remote communities. 

The ANIK-B1 dual-band telecommunications satellite. As outlined on the Gunther’s Space Page post on the satellite, it was built under an arrangement between Telesat Canada and the federal government and built by the RCA Astro-Electronics Division. Photo c/o ESA.

As a result of the success of Hermes, the Canadian government arranged with Telesat to include 14/12 GHz transponders on its Anik B satellite which was being built to replace the ageing Anik A satellites. As a result, Anik B1, launched on Dec. 15, 1978, was the first satellite in the world to operate in both the 6/4 GHz and the 14/12 GHz bands. 

For Hermes’ accomplishments in the field of television broadcasting and its applications, the Communications Research Centre and NASA received EMMY awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1987.

________________________________________________________________________
Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of “Five Ages of Canada – A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation.”

William McDonald “Mac” Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast.

Last Week: “The 1970’s, A Canadian Space Industry, Telesat, ANIK and a “Canadian Content Premium,” in part three of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets.

Next Week: “Winding up the 1970’s, The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Spar Aerospace, MacDonald Dettwiler, a Seminal 1974 “Canadian Policy for Space” & the Canadarm as part five of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets,” continues.

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Part 3: 150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History

Posted April 2, 2017 by Chuck Black

Rockets, Mosquitoes, Lancaster’s, UTIAS, and the Cold War

Downsview in the 30’s. Photo c/o CASM.

         By Robert Godwin

Canada’s aerospace raison d’être has always derived from its immense size, its location in the far north as a vast, barely-tracked wilderness of incalculable resources and the logical requirements relating to defence, communications, utilization and exploration which naturally follow from its size and location.

Along with rockets that could now pierce the edge of space, the war had also brought the need to accelerate other technologies, particularly in the fields of aviation, communications and navigation.

De Havilland’s factory in Downsview mass-produced fighters like the Mosquito, while just down the road in Malton Ontario the Victory Aircraft Company churned out hundreds of heavy Lancaster bombers. One engineer from Toronto named Edward Fox who had kept his eye on the pulse of this work during the war wrote a book titled Stratosphere Flying, about the future of aviation and how to use the stars for navigation. By the end of the war Fox had written another 80,000 word manuscript about how to fly in space, but it seems this was never published. For his work on these books he won an award from King George.

While Kurt Stehling and Edward Fox were off fighting the Axis, another University of Toronto student named Hillel Diamond founded the Canadian Rocket Society (CRS). At the end of the war Stehling and Fox returned home and shortly thereafter they joined forces with Diamond to work towards their mutual dream of spaceflight. Fox, who had been an engineer since the 1920s, immediately took their cause to the media and conducted radio interviews and frequently appeared in the newspapers. He claimed to have become interested in the whole subject when he read the works of Jules Verne as a child.

One of those who supported the CRS was a brilliant engineer named Gordon Patterson, who had spent much of his life working in England, Australia and the United States on advanced aeronautics work. In his youth Patterson was one of a new breed of young engineers who spent their “off hours” conducting aerial surveys of Canada’s remote regions. Mapping Canada’s resources and remote geography was still an enormous unfinished task. In 1947 Patterson returned to his alma mater, the University of Toronto, where he established the the Institute for Aerophysics (UTIA), which eventually became the Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS).  This institution remains at the forefront of Canada’s aerospace research until the present day.

UTIAS today. As outlined in the history page of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies website, Gordon Paterson “insisted, as a condition of his coming to U. of T. (in 1947), that a separate department of aeronautics be established, and after some equivocation, and resistance within the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, the University complied.” Photo c/o UTIAS.

One of the most important developments at UTIAS was the construction of an advanced and extremely powerful wind tunnel. This was installed not far from the de Havilland factory in Downsview Ontario. Many of the next generation of top Canadian aerospace engineers would work at this establishment including a young man named Gerald Bull who was destined to make important advances in the future.

In early 1948 Stehling introduced engineers across Canada to the potential of the rocket when, as President of the University of Toronto Rocket Society, he wrote a paper entitled “Rocket Propulsion.” He concluded his report with, “from a defensive and scientific viewpoint it will be necessary for Canadians to interest themselves in this useful and portentous science. Why shouldn’t we use our native initiative and do more original work, instead of imitating or improving on the work of other countries?

Stehling would win an award from the Engineering Institute of Canada for this paper. Despite some post-war difficulties finding employment, which he attributed to his German background, he soon found himself in-demand, lecturing on rockets and the intricacies of atomic energy. By the end of 1948 Stehling and Fox were willing to debate anyone on the feasibility of spaceflight.

Just down the road from the UTIAS wind tunnel, at the de Havilland factory, many iconic aircraft were now being manufactured, including the legendary “Beaver” and “Chipmunk.” These planes were ideally suited for Canada’s unique conditions and the Beaver’s distinctive design would soon become an iconic image to all Canadians. The ability to land the Beaver on water allowed unprecedented access to some of Canada’s remote regions.

By 1949 the Cold War was in full swing. Victory Aircraft in Malton had been taken over by the A.V. Roe Company (Avro) and it was now also building and developing some of the best aircraft in the world. The market for a civilian jet transport seemed obvious and in 1949 Avro delivered the C-102 “Jetliner.” Thousands of man-hours had gone into the design of what could easily have been remembered as the world’s first civilian jet transport, but technically it flew just two weeks behind Britain’s de Havilland “Comet.”

At the same time the CF-100 all-weather fighter was being developed for deployment in Europe and many squadrons were to be spread across Canada, waiting to be called up in case of a Soviet invasion from across the arctic. The Korean War soon became the front line and Avro were asked to drop the Jetliner program and concentrate their efforts on war materiel.

The early 1950s brought with it the beginning of the global race to perfect ballistic missile technology and the engineers at De Havilland in both England and Canada opened their own special missile divisions. This new field required an entirely new breed of engineers, and many young men from the University of Toronto travelled further afield to learn these special skills.

Kurt Stehling chose to accept a job at Bell Aerospace in Buffalo New York, where some of the German rocket scientists from World War II were now working. Wilfred Dukes also moved from Avro to Bell and became the deputy chief of engineering, where he wrote some of the first serious papers on hypersonic flight. Another young engineer from Toronto named Phil Lapp chose to go to MIT in the United States to learn more about missile guidance.

In 1951 Stehling wrote to American scientist James van Allen urging him to consider Canada as the perfect location for launching rockets into the high stratosphere. The wide open spaces were the precise kind of location for testing dangerous new hardware which might unexpectedly fall from the sky. Stehling proposed using high altitude balloons for the first stage, to save fuel. One of the locations he suggested for these launches was Churchill Falls in Manitoba.

Now that he was a paid-up member of the American Rocket Society, in January 1953, Stehling delivered a seminal paper called “Earth Scanning Techniques for Orbital Rocket Vehicles” in which he outlined the special work which an orbiting satellite could do to study ground based resources, and to monitor coastlines, by using either microwaves or visible-light scanning equipment.

This paper would lay the groundwork for the whole field of remote sensing from space and especially many of Canada’s future space projects. Stehling’s paper was based on non-classified information and suggested using a conventional paraboloidal “sweeping” radar antenna, the only kind known to operate in aircraft at that time. 

Robert Godwin.
_____________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books, the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum and an American Astronautical Society History Committee Member.

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music.  

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Last Week, “The International Polar Year, the Silver Dart, Canada’s First Air Show and Aerospace Becomes Serious Business” in part two of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.

Next Week, “Radar, Better Radar (of the “Synthetic Aperture” Variety), Project Quill, 
CARDE, Velvet Globe & Black Brant,” in part four as “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History” continues.

On sale now, at Apogee Books.

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Part 3: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

Posted April 2, 2017 by Chuck Black

The 1970’s, A Canadian Space Industry, Telesat, ANIK and a “Canadian Content Premium


Anik A. Photo c/o Telesat Canada

By Graham Gibbs & W. M. (“Mac“) Evans

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants.

The 1970’s, Part 1

The Act of Parliament that created Telesat Canada stipulated that Telesat “shall utilize, to the extent practicable and consistent with its commercial nature, Canadian research, design and industrial personnel, technology and facilities in research and development connected with its satellite telecommunication systems and in the design and construction of the systems.” 

Before Telesat could purchase any satellite or ground system, the Act required Telesat to obtain the approval of the Minister of Communications that he or she was satisfied that the procurement would result in “a reasonable utilization of Canadian design and engineering skills and the incorporation of an appropriate proportion of Canadian components and materials.” 

A reminder that, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This short CBC radio segment from December 1st, 1971 under the title, “The Anik satellite and northern Canada,” discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the new communications technologies being rolled out with the three Anik satellites is well worth comparing to the July 18th, 2016 post, “Arctic Satellites Should Serve Northerners According to Nunatsiaq Online.” Graphic c/o CBC.

It is clear that the government saw Telesat as an instrument of industrial policy wherein Telesat procurement’s would be used as much as possible to assist the development of the Canadian space industry. 

In the debates in Parliament that led to the creation of Telesat, the then Minister of Communications made it clear that Canadian industry would play a major role in building Telesat’s satellites.  

In the period leading up to the creation of Telesat, the government run Satellite Project Office in 1969 had let major competitive study contracts to two Canadian companies, RCA Limited in Montreal (the prime contractor for the ISIS spacecraft) and the Northern Electric Company in Ottawa. Upon completion of these studies, Telesat proceeded to enter into negotiations with RCA to build two satellites. 

However, in the middle of these negotiations, Hughes Aircraft in the United States (builder of the first satellites for Intelsat) submitted to Telesat an unsolicited proposal for the construction of three satellites, based on a flight proven design, at a price considerably lower than the RCA price and with a shorter construction schedule. The Hughes offer included a much smaller Canadian content (from Northern Electric and SPAR) than the RCA bid. 

An image of the Anik A, “a forerunner of the Boeing 376 satellite,”” from Boeing Images, the external licencing arm of the Boeing Corporation. The Anik’s were a part of the Hughes HS-333 generation of spin stabilized communication satellites, which later evolved into the popular Boeing 376 satellite line now in use around the world. Hughes was purchased by Boeing in 2000 and became Boeing Satellite Systems. Graphic c/o Boeing Images.

Thus the ink was hardly dry on the Telesat Canada Act when one of its key provisions (Canadian content) faced a significant challenge. Except for Canadian content, the Hughes bid was substantially better than the RCA bid in all respects (cost, risk, and schedule). In essence, the Hughes bid established a benchmark to measure the extra cost of including significant Canadian content in Telesat’s first series of satellites. 

The issue of this so-called “Canadian Content Premium” became the subject of considerable debate in the House of Commons. In the end, in 1970 the Minister of Communications authorized Telesat to proceed with Hughes Aircraft for the construction of three Anik A satellites. 

The Anik A1 satellite was launched by NASA on November 9, 1972 and Canada became the first country to have a domestic satellite system in geosynchronous orbit. Anik A2 followed shortly afterwards in April 1973 and Anik A3 was launched in May 1975. 

The satellites operated in the 6/4 GHz bands and each provided 12 channels capable of carrying either one television program or 960 one- way telephone conversations. Telesat’s Anik system revolutionized communications in Canada and for the first time ever, reliable telephone services and television programming were available to most of the rural and remote areas of Canada. 

The failure of Canadian companies to win the contract for the Anik satellites had a profound impact on the government’s space program. 

The setback of the Anik procurement decision clearly showed that the Canadian space industry was not yet internationally competitive. In the wake of the Telesat procurement decision, and with the wind down of the ISIS program, it was clear that another major space program would be needed if Canada’s fledgling space industry was to survive. 

Fortunately, as a result of the government’s decision in 1969 to transform planning for the ISIS III spacecraft into planning for a communications technology satellite, the government was in a position to act swiftly.

________________________________________________________________________
Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of “Five Ages of Canada – A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation.”

William McDonald “Mac” Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast.

Last Week: “The 1960’s, Alouette, ISIS, Chapman & Telesat,” in part two of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets.

Next Week: “More on the 1970’s,”Equal Access” to Communications, “Improved Industrial Capability” and the Hermes Communication Satellite,” as part five of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets,” continues.

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Part 2: 150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History

Posted March 27, 2017 by Chuck Black

The International Polar Year, the Silver Dart, Canada’s First Air Show and Aerospace Becomes Serious Business

         By Robert Godwin
A.G. Bell. Photo c/o NNDB.

Canada’s aerospace raison d’être has always derived from its immense size, its location in the far north as a vast, barely-tracked wilderness of incalculable resources and the logical requirements relating to defence, communications, utilization and exploration which naturally follow from its size and location. 

It’s also worth noting that the beginnings of Canada’s aerospace history predates Canada itself…

A quarter of a century after the first International Polar Year the world changed irrevocably when two bicycle-shop mechanics in Dayton Ohio led our civilization into the era of powered, winged flight.

People around the world became entranced by the adventure and potential of aviation, and Alexander Graham Bell, yet another immigrant from Scotland and one of Canada’s most illustrious citizens, was willing to put up the money from his substantial fortune to help pave the way for Canadians into this new realm.

Bell joined forces with one of America’s leading proponents of mechanical flight, Glenn Curtiss, and they created The Aerial Experiment Association. They brought into their group two young men named F.W. “Casey” Baldwin and John A.D. McCurdy who were both graduates of the University of Toronto. These pioneers shuttled back and forth between Hammondsport New York, and Bras d’Or Lake in Nova Scotia testing their designs until, on February 23rd 1909, McCurdy became the first citizen of the globe-girdling British Empire to really fly an aircraft over a significant distance.

The Aerial Experiment Association drome No. 4, also known as “McCurdy’s Silver Dart” at Baddeck Bay N.S around February, 1909. Photo c/o the Canada at War blog.

Bell sent a telegram to the newspapers that simply read, “Baddeck: Feb 24. McCurdy flew Silver Dart one mile and a half in great style. Signed, Graham Bell.” The very next day McCurdy made the first winged aerial exploration of Canadian territory when he circumnavigated the small lake.

A little more than a year later, 3500 Canadians in British Columbia were thrilled to experience aviation first-hand, when Charles Hamilton became the first person to fly an aircraft on the west coast of Canada at Minoru Park.  Perhaps inspired by Hamilton’s feat, just a few weeks after that, a local inventor by the name of Haden Bales filed a patent for what would be the first design for so-called Jet Assisted Take Off. Bales quite rightly anticipated the efficacy of placing rockets underneath an aircraft to help it take-off over a shorter distance. With very little fanfare, Bales had patented the first rocket plane.

Less than a month later Canada hosted its first “air show” in Montreal where the Count de Lesseps demonstrated the first flight of a monoplane in front of a Canadian audience. At the end of his trip he was appointed as an honorary Grand Chief by the Iroquois contingent in attendance.

Aviation quickly changed from fad to serious business when the British Empire went to war with Germany. On February 7th 1915 the Canadian government was asked to enlist pilots. The young volunteers were so enthusiastic that they barely complained when they were told they had to pay for their own flying licenses.

Photo inscribed as “Blakemore/71 King W./Toronto./#989/Curtiss Flying School-Class of July 1916-Toronto,” along with the names of the people in the photo. Photo c/o the Baldwin Collection of Canadiana.

Glenn Curtiss established a training school at Long Branch on the waters of Lake Ontario on May 10th 1915, and by 1917 young Canadians were being trained there, before being sent to fight over the skies of Europe. Even enthusiastic Americans who wanted to get into the fight came to Long Branch and joined His Majesty’s Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) or Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

Initially this first batch of young pilots would be trained by John McCurdy. One young American who would spend time during the war watching these pilots train in Toronto was a teenage nurse from Kansas named Amelia Earhart.

As the war came to an end the Royal Air Force (RAF) was founded by merging the RNAS and RFC. Two months later uniquely Canadian squadrons were formed and in February 1920 the Canadian Air Force was authorized.

When those young Canadian pilots had arrived in England during the war they had often found themselves flying in aircraft which had been built under the supervision of a young designer named Geoffrey de Havilland. At the end of the war de Havilland began his own aircraft company based around his designs for a family of planes called “Moths.”

By 1927 de Havilland had done well enough that he announced his intention to build aircraft in Canada. He opened a factory in Downsview Ontario and construction soon began there on the legendary Tiger Moth biplane.

Not so different from today. A 1927 European ad for the de Havilland “Moth” biplane stressing its ease of use, gas millage and the faults of the competition. Graphic c/o Aviation Ancestry.

In 1901 Guglielmo Marconi had conducted the first radio transmission across the Atlantic when he received a message in Newfoundland from Ireland. For more than 30 years his technology had been refined and improved, but like the cables laid by Lord Kelvin it was still subject to the whims of solar interference.

While the industrial side of Canada’s aerospace industry was just starting to flourish, the science side once more turned its attention to the arctic, and in 1932, on the fiftieth anniversary of that first International Polar Year, a crew of atmospheric scientists led by Balfour Currie was dispatched to the Northwest Territories to once more study the Earth and to try and get a better understanding of the aurora and its impact on our planet, and most importantly – why they seemed to interfere with communications.

At this point, the science of liquid rocketry was still in its infancy. The American Robert Goddard had fired the world’s first liquid fuelled rocket in 1926. In the spring of 1930, the Austrian pioneer Max Valier had driven the world’s first liquid rocket propelled vehicle; a custom built automobile.

Daredevils around the world were intrigued with the potential of this new form of propulsion and the excitement caught the attention of two Canadians – Laurence E. Manning of New Brunswick, and Kurt R. Stehling of Toronto.

Manning had fought for Canada in the First World War and was now living in the United States. In April 1930 he was invited to attend a gathering of like-minds at an apartment in New York City. As one of a dozen people in attendance that night, Manning became a founder of what was to become the American Interplanetary Society and in 1934 he was responsible for the first truly successful launch of a liquid fueled rocket by that organisation.

Manning would go on to become the society’s president and would be in that position when the name was changed to the American Rocket Society (ARS). That organisation still exists today under the auspices of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is still the leading group in the field representing the United States internationally.

Manning was also a writer of science fiction and his stories had inspired Kurt Stehling who at that time was a student at Toronto’s Technical High School. Around the same time that Manning was flying his relatively sophisticated rocket in New York, Stehling built what may well have been Canada’s first liquid fuelled rocket in his school’s biology laboratory.

Stehling’s launch was somewhat less glorious than Manning’s when his rocket chose to leave the laboratory through the window – while it was closed. Despite this minor setback he managed to get accepted to the University of Toronto’s engineering program where he stayed until 1943, at which time he signed up to fight in Europe. He was dispatched to Holland and England where he would come under fire of the infamous V-2 missile. 

Robert Godwin.
_____________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum and an American Astronautical Society History Committee Member.

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music.  

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Last Week, “Before Canada: HMS Agamemnon, the Telegraph Cable, William Leitch & ‘The Fur Country,’” in part one of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.

Next Week, “Rockets, Mosquitoes, Lancaster’s, UTIAS, and the Cold War,” in part three as “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History” continues.

On sale now, at Apogee Books.

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General

Part 2: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

Posted March 26, 2017 by Chuck Black

The 1960’s, Alouette, ISIS, Chapman & Telesat


Alouette & subsystems. Graphic c/o DRTE/CSA.

By Graham Gibbs & W. M. (“Mac“) Evans

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants.

The 1960’s

Alouette I was not only a bold political step, but a substantial technical challenge. Many innovations were required including the use of transistors, new battery management systems, low-noise receivers, thermal and mechanical designs and perhaps most famously, the development of the Storable Tubular Extendible Member, or STEM.

It was the latter that allowed the satellite to be launched in a compact configuration, but once on orbit to extend antennas up to forty-five metres in length. 

The Canadian built STEM antenna used in the Alouette-1 satellite. The compact, flat, but flexible metallic bar unrolls and bends inward to become a rigid cylinder able to be used as a satellite antenna.  Photo c/o Canadian Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) collection #1992.0357.00.

The STEM was the first product of SPAR Aerospace Ltd. (originally the Special Products and Advanced Research Division of the de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada). STEM products found their way onto most of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, and many communications satellites. The expertise in space flight gained by SPAR through its STEM work formed the basis for the company’s development of the now famous CANADARMs on the shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). 

The first Canadian hardware to fly in space was a prototype of a component of Alouette I (a galactic noise receiver) which flew in June 1960 on the US Navigation Satellite Transit II-A. This receiver provided the first measurements of cosmic noise from above the ionosphere. 

On September 29th, 1962, just two weeks after US President John Kennedy’s famous speech at Rice University where he said “we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard…,” Alouette I was launched on a Thor-Agena-B rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California into a 1,000 km circular orbit with an inclination of 80 degrees, officially launching Canada into the space age as the third country (after the Soviet Union and the United States) to have its own satellite in orbit.  

The technical and scientific successes of Alouette I are legendary. In an era when satellite lifetimes were measured in months, Alouette I continued to work until it was turned off ten years later. More than 1,200 papers and scientific reports have been published. In 1987 the Engineering Centennial Board recognized Alouette I as one of the ten most outstanding achievements of Canadian engineering over the last one hundred years. 

In 1993 Alouette I received the prestigious IEEE Milestone in Engineering Award to honour the program’s significant achievement in the history of electrical and electronic engineering. Several of the keymembers of the Alouette I program have received the Order of Canada for their pioneering efforts. 

Within a short time after the successful launch of Alouette I, the Canadian Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) initiated negotiations with NASA for additional cooperative scientific satellites.

For more on the ISIS satellite program, check out the 1997 Friends of the CRC post, “The ISIS Satellite Program.” Screenshot c/o Friends of the CRC.

On May 23rd, 1963 those negotiations led to the creation of the International Satellites for Ionospheric Studies (ISIS) program, consisting of Alouette II, ISIS I, ISIS II and an undefined ISIS III. The intent was to provide topside ionospheric measurements over a complete eleven year solar cycle. Alouette II, launched November 29 1965, was a modified version of Alouette I and included a probe experiment and an expanded sounder frequency range. ISIS I and II were launched on January 30th, 1969 and March 31st, 1971 respectively. As will be described later, the ISIS III program was abandoned in favour of the Communications Technology Satellite that was launched in 1976. These satellites maintained the heritage of Alouette I for extraordinary reliability and gave Canada a well-earned international reputation and credibility in space. 

In approving the ISIS program the government requested that DRTE transfer its technology and expertise to Canadian industry in order to ensure that maximum economic benefits could accrue from the program. Thus, immediately after the success of Alouette I, which was designed, managed and built primarily by DRTE, a government laboratory, the government issued a significant industrial policy statement that would become one of the fundamental policies guiding our space program ever since. 

While today this policy may appear to be obvious, at the time it was a revolutionary policy that set the Canadian space program apart from most others. It is this policy that has encouraged the Canadian space industry to become the most export oriented industry in the world. 

While the Alouette and ISIS satellites were aimed at understanding the ionosphere in order to provide better communications capabilities here on Earth, rapid advances in rocket and satellite technology in the early 1960’s permitted the development and test of communications satellites capable of providing long distance communications independent of the ionosphere. 

Canadian scientists were naturally interested in these new technologies and concepts and participated in many of the early American experimental systems. Initially these systems used passive reflectors in space (e.g. Echo I in 1960) and required very large,powerful ground segments. These were followed by low Earth orbit systems (e.g. Telstar I in 1962 which provided the first transatlantic TV communications) and required large steerable antennas on the ground to track the satellite as it passed overhead. By 1963, the concept of geosynchronous satellites was proven with the launch of Sycom II. It was the advent of the geosynchronous communications satellite and its relatively simple and cheap ground systems that really opened the commercial satellite business. 

In 1964 the INTELSAT organization was formed with the express purpose of building and operating a global, commercial communications satellite system for the Western world. INTELSAT’s first satellite (Intelsat 1, also known as “Early Bird“) was launched in 1965. Canada was a founding member of INTELSAT and leased twenty- four telephone channels on “Early Bird” to provide communications links between Canada and Europe.

It was clear to the government of Canada that these rapid technological advances in satellite communications would have major significance for Canada. In 1966 the government commissioned a study of Canada’s space program. The findings of this study were published in 1967 under the title of “Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs for Canada.” The chairman of the study group was John Chapman of Alouette fame and the report became known as the “Chapman Report.” 

Among other things, the report recommended that the emphasis on space in Canada be shifted from science to communications and natural resource surveying. The report forecast (correctly it turns out) that “in the second century of Confederation the fabric of Canadian society will be held together by strands in space just as strongly as the railway and telegraph held together the scattered provinces in the last century.” 

The Chapman Report and an independent Science Council report (entitled “A Space Program for Canada) issued the same year made the case for a Canadian space program that concentrated on satellite communications, Canadian industrial development, cooperation with other countries, and recommended the establishment of a central coordinating and contracting agency for space research and development to oversee and manage the Canadian space effort. 

The Chapman Report, for the first time, codified the two primary tenets that guide Canada’s space program to this day: Canada should focus on using space to meet national needs and it should do so in a way that develops an internationally competitive space industry. 

The front cover of “Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada” by J.H. Chapman, P.A. Forsyth, P.A. Lapp and G.N. Patterson next to a photo of Chapman in the 1960’s. Over time, the report became “Canada’s Original Blueprint” for space activities and still contains lessons for policymakers today. Graphic & Photo Phil Lapp & CSA

These successful demonstrations of the capabilities of satellite communications to provide long distance communications services also prompted considerable commercial interest in Canada. In 1966 Niagara Television Limited proposed a domestic satellite communications system to distribute television programs across the nation. This was followed in 1967 with a proposal for a domestic satellite communications system by a consortium of the Trans-Canada Telephone System and Canadian National/Canadian Pacific Telecommunications. 

In response to this mounting interest in a domestic satellite communications system, Prime Minister Lester Pearson announced in July 1967 the creation of a Task Force in the Science Secretariat under the leadership of Dr. Chapman to advise the government on satellite policy in general, and, in particular, on the use of satellite technology for domestic communications. Late in 1967 the Task Force reported its conclusions to the government and in 1968 the government issued a White Paper on “A Domestic Satellite Communication System for Canada.” The paper recommended the creation of a corporation by special statute of Parliament to develop, own and operate a domestic communications satellite system. The government also indicated its intention to seek private sector participation in the Corporation. 

To commence implementation of the White Paper recommendations, a Satellite Project Office was established by the Science Secretariat reporting to the Department of Industry. After detailed hearings before the Standing Committee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts, The Telesat Canada Act was introduced in the House of Commons. It was assented to on June 26th, 1969, and on September 1st, 1969, the date of Proclamation, the Telesat Canada Corporation came into existence under the joint ownership of the Government of Canada and the major telephone companies. The objective of the Company was to establish satellite telecommunication systems providing, on a commercial basis, telecommunication services between locations in Canada. 

In 1969, as part of a major reorganization of the Government of Canada, the Department of Communications (DOC) was created. DRTE (including its facilities and people) were transferred from the Defence Research Board to this new civilian department and re-named the Communications Research Centre (CRC). 

DOC was given responsibility for the Alouette and ISIS programs as well as responsibility for managing the government’s interests in Telesat Canada. This organizational change signaled the intent of the government to place responsibility for Canada’s fledgling space program under civilian control (as the US had done with the creation of NASA eleven years earlier). It was at this time that planning for the final ISIS satellite (ISIS III) was abandoned in favour of the development of an experimental communications satellite, later to be called the Communications Technology Satellite, or Hermes.

The shift in emphasis from science to applications recommended in the Chapman Report did not mean the end of space science in Canada. It did, however, mean that Canada would wait until 2003 before it launched another science satellite after the launch of ISIS II in 1972. 

In the intervening thirty years, the Canadian space science community, assisted at first by the Canada Centre for Space Science at the NRC and later by the Space Science Directorate at the Canadian Space Agency, focused on flying Canadian instruments on the science satellites of other nations and on the US Space Shuttle. 

This approach has allowed a broader range of science activities to be undertaken and Canadian space scientists have established world-class reputations in areas as diverse as solar-terrestrial physics, astronomy, atmospheric pollution, space life science, and microgravity science. 

In response to the Chapman Report recommendation for a “central coordinating and contracting agency,” the government created in 1969 the Interdepartmental Committee on Space (ICS). The ICS had membership from all departments with space interests and was responsible to the Minister of Communications for formulating space policies, recommending cooperation with foreign space agencies, recommending actions for optimum uses of resources, and coordinating space activities to maintain a viable space industry. The ICS was the major forum in the Government of Canada for the development of Canadian space policies and programs until the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was created in 1989. The committee was chaired by Dr. Chapman until his death in 1979. 

From the above, it is easy to see why Dr. Chapman is considered the father of the Canadian space program and why CSA headquarters in St. Hubert Quebec is officially named the John H. Chapman Space Centre in his honour. 

It is interesting to compare the thrust of the Canadian space program during the 1960’s with that of the United States. At the beginning of the decade, in 1962, Canada’s first satellite, Alouette I, was launched and President Kennedy announced the US was going to the moon. At the end of the decade, within weeks of Neil Armstrong’s historic landing on the moon in July 1969, Telesat Canada came into being. During this period, Canada had come to grips with its primary objectives in space and had put in place the mechanisms to accomplish them. 

While the US was pursuing lunar and interplanetary exploration driven by the space race with the Soviet Union, Canada was putting in place the policies and organizations that would ensure that the benefits of space technology could be applied to meet our own specific national needs.

________________________________________________________________________
Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of “Five Ages of Canada – A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation.”

William McDonald “Mac” Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast.

Last Week: “Abstract, Introduction & The 1950’s,” as part one of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets” begins.

Next Week: “The 1970’s, A Canadian Space Industry, Telesat, ANIK and a “Canadian Content Premium”” as part three of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets” continues.

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General

Part 1: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets

Posted March 19, 2017 by Chuck Black

Abstract, Introduction & The 1950’s


By Graham Gibbs & W. M. (“Mac“) Evans

Canada’s contribution to the ISS. Photo c/o CSA.

This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief history of the Canadian space program, written by two of the major participants. 

Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first Counselor for (US) Space Affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

W.M. “Mac” Evans, a career public servant, has provided vision in planning and implementing Canada’s space plans for many decades and was president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from 1994 – 2001.

The paper is reproduced with the permission of the authors. As outlined by Gibbs, “Re the interesting Canada150 series you are running, you might be interested in posting the Paper (attached) Mac Evans and I wrote for the International Astronautical Congress that was held in Toronto in 2014.” 

We are. Part one begins below.

Abstract

The Canadian Space Program began at the dawn of the space age during the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958. 

With the launch of the scientific Alouette 1 satellite in 1962 Canada became the third nation in space. Since then Canada has achieved many “firsts in space” and has established itself as a world recognized space faring nation. Thirty years after entering the space era in 1988, Canada formally became a partner in the then G-7 Space Station program with the signing of the Agreements governing the program, which in 1998 became the International Space Station (ISS) when Russia became a partner. Canada is a leader in radar-based Earth observation, upper atmosphere research, advanced satellite communications technologies, space robotics and much more. 

Canada’s space program, despite its modest beginnings and continuing modest funding, has achieved unprecedented success. This success is largely due to reasoned government space policies during the most formative years of Canada’s space program. 

This paper is, for the most part, an update of a paper authored by W.M. (Mac) Evans and published in the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) Journal (CASJ) [i].

The current paper also provides an analysis of the lessons we have learned from these thoughtful earlier government space policies of how a small space faring nation, from a funding perspective, can hold its own and cooperate with major space faring nations such as the United States/NASA and Europe/European Space Agency.

 Introduction

It is remarkable that today the Canadian Space Agency partners’ with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in all the major public space sector disciplines, which are:

  • Human space flight (robotics for the US space shuttle, now retired, and the International Space Station) 
  • An astronaut program
  • Life and microgravity science research 
  • Earth science and observation (with instruments on NASA space craft and our own RADARSAT program) 
  • Astronomy, including our contribution to the US led James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and our own Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars telescope (MOST)
  • Heliophysics, and planetary exploration through contributions to NASA’s robotic exploration of Mars

In addition we collaborate with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (supporting the Canadian and US Ice Services to ensure safe shipping in the arctic), and the US Geological Survey. 

Canada is also the only non-European cooperating member of the European Space Agency (ESA) a partnership we have enjoyed since 1979. The Canadian Space Agency cooperates with other space faring nations, such as Japan, on a case- by-case or mission-by-mission basis.

There is no question that Canada has “punched above its weight” in space, whether it be in the realm of communications, earth observation, science or robotics. This phenomenal achievement has been possible through informed space policy development in Canada especially during the first thirty years of Canada’s space program. 

We now address the history of the development of space policy in Canada as first articulated by William (Mac) Evans in his paper for the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Journal of March 2004. The underlying thesis is that these policies have been fundamental to the technological and operational success of our national space program for more than four decades.

The 1950’s

While the concepts of space flight had been around for centuries it wasn’t until after the Second World War that rocket technologies needed for such adventures were successfully tested.

While primarily driven by the post-war race between the Soviet Union and the United States to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, the development of rocket technology gave the world’s scientists a new tool in their on-going research into the earth and its environment. Thus, it is not surprising that when the International Geophysical Year (IGY) was designated (July 1957 to December 1958) as a comprehensive series of global geophysical activities; this new tool provided the most significant findings of the IGY. Indeed, it was during the IGY that both the Soviet Union (1957) and the United States (1958) launched their first satellites. 

For decades prior to the IGY, Canadian scientists had been conducting extensive research into the ionosphere in order to improve radio communications between the northern and southern regions of Canada. Communications between these two areas relied on bouncing high frequency radio waves off the ionosphere. But disturbances in the ionosphere associated with magnetic storms and the aurora caused considerable havoc with these essential communications links. 

Since the northern auroral zone passes over Churchill Manitoba our scientists were intrigued with the possibility of probing the ionosphere with scientific instruments mounted on rockets launched from Churchill. They were able to convince the government to offer Churchill Manitoba as a site for launching sounding rockets and in 1955 the Churchill Rocket Range was established with the assistance of the United States. Churchill became a significant site during the IGY and 95 (45%) of the 210 sounding rocket launches made by the US during the IGY were from Churchill. Between 1957 and 1984 (when the range was closed) more than 3,500 sounding rockets were launched from Churchill.

Canada’s first forays into the lower reaches of space were sounding rocket payloads designed and built by research establishments of the Defence Research Board (DRB). Instruments to make measurements of atmospheric chemistry that had been designed by the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) in Valcartier Quebec were launched from Churchill in 1958. The next year, the Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) in Ottawa designed and built instruments to measure electron density and the temperature of the ionosphere and these were launched on sounding rockets from Churchill. 

During this same period, CARDE had been developing solid rocket propellants for military purposes. This technology was incorporated into a sounding rocket called Black Brant. The first Black Brant rocket was launched from Churchill in 1959. The technology was transferred to industry (first Canadair and subsequently to Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg) and since then more than 800 Black Brant rockets have been launched from sites all over the world. 

Early in 1958, in response to the launch by the Soviet Union of Sputnik in October 1957, the United States consolidated its entire civilian aeronautical and space activities into a new organization called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA was impressed with the success of international cooperation during the IGY and made international cooperation one of its major objectives. 

Consequently, in 1958 the US invited international participation in their scientific space program. The scientists at DRTE who by this time had developed an interest in sounding the ionosphere from above (i.e. from space) responded quickly with a proposal near the end of 1958 to build a satellite to carry a top- side ionospheric sounder – a satellite later to be called Alouette I. 

In April 1959, NASA and DRTE jointly signed an agreement whereby Canada was to supply a satellite and NASA was to provide the launcher. The leader of the Canadian team was John H. Chapman. 

The official announcement of Canada’s intention to build a satellite was made by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker on the occasion of the official opening of the Prince Albert Radar Laboratory in June 1959. 

Looking back, one has to marvel at the audacity of the Canadian proposal and the confidence the Government placed in its scientific community. The Alouette program was approved at a time when rockets were still regularly exploding on the launch pad and those few satellites that actually made it in to orbit were lasting for only a few weeks or months. At the time of the signing of the Alouette agreement, the US had only successfully launched seven satellites. 

While Alouette I was a scientific satellite, its objective was to provide scientific information needed to provide more reliable communications between the northern and southern regions of Canada. Thus Canada entered the space age with a very practical proposition to use the advantages of space to help meet important domestic needs here on earth. Pursuing space applications to meet Canada’s needs has been the hallmark of our space program ever since.

________________________________________________________________________
Graham Gibbs & Mac Evans. Photos c/o MyCanada & CSA.
Graham Gibbs represented the Canadian space program for twenty-two years, the final seven as Canada’s first counselor for (US) space affairs based at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of “Five Ages of Canada – A HISTORY from Our First Peoples to Confederation.”

William McDonald “Mac” Evans served as the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from November 1991 to November 2001, where he led the development of the Canadian astronaut and RADARSAT programs, negotiated Canada’s role in the International Space Station (ISS) and contributed to various international agreements that serve as the foundation of Canada’s current international space partnerships.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Vancouver, BC based UrtheCast.

Footnotes

[i] The Canadian Space Program — Past, Present, and Future (A history of the development of space policy in Canada), W M. (Mac) Evans, Canadian Aeronautics and Space Journal, 2004, 50(1): 19-31, 10.5589/q04-004. Used and updated with permission.

Next Week: “The 1960’s, ISIS, Chapman & Telesat” as part two of “A History of the Canadian Space Program: Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets” continues.

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