Almost 7 years ago, while going through some personal issues, I made a terrible mistake and ended up being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of California. It was a dark period in my life, but I have moved on and learned my lesson. This spring, however, my intoxicated driving conviction […]
“Despite our growing knowledge about polar bears,” writes Michael Engelhard in his 2017 book Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon, “unscientific views of the bear as a man-eating monster persist.”
But the results of a new study that looked at every recorded instance of polar bear attacks on humans in the five places the animal lives in the wild — Canada, the United States, Greenland, Norway and Russia — over a 144-year period may go some way to correcting the myth of the rampaging white bear with a taste for human flesh.
RELATED: I wrote about Chuck Berry here. More from my siteTrailersFromHell: “Go, Johnny, Go” (1959)The black model is a nice touch…Let’s see if Tim Sommer can explain the whole “Chuck Berry is a brilliant lyricist” thing to meSister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll
Gavin McInnes on the latest Norman Lear-related menace to American society:Importing people from this country would be like plucking Crazy Horse from the Battle of the Rosebud and plonking him into the middle of Tokyo with a broom in his hand. (…)We never hear about the boy’s father or his mother’s inability to close her […]
Scientists are concerned the toxic pollutants in the ice ending up on our dinner plates.
Canadian scientists here are testing our mosquitoes to see if they can transmit infections like the Zika virus.
Spend enough time in the remote forests of Australia and you might be lucky enough to hear a cockatoo tap out a beat.
A warming climate is leading to dryer conditions, which increase the risk of bigger, more intense wildfires.
A group of researchers in Germany spent 1,000 Euros of their own money on high-end whiskey in order to test a new “artificial tongue” they have developed.
The Canadian government hasn’t had a long-term space plan for almost a decade, since 2009 when Richmond, BC based MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) tried (and failed) to sell it’s space business to Virginia based Alliant Techsystems (ATK), in an attempt to gain access to the lucrative US military market.
|Toronto Mayor John Tory at the July 11th, 2017 press conference announcing the 2017 Elevate Toronto Conference. It’s a a three-day tech festival that will showcase the best of the Canadian innovation ecosystem and welcome the world to Toronto. Photo c/o author.|
And while there has been many promises, from both Federal Conservative and Liberal governments under Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, each has failed to provide consistency and direction to the Canadian space industry.
Which is kinda odd since the future of our space industry has always been, and will likely continue to remain, providing space focused solutions to Earth based problems.
Of course, if you’re really looking for the best solutions to Earth based problems, you might want to check out the 2017 Elevate Toronto conference, which will be held from September 12th – 14th in Toronto, Ontario.
|Elevate Toronto Chair and former Achievers Inc CEO Razor Suleiman citing his gratitude to Canada for welcoming his Ismaili family from East Africa decades ago. Razor wants to build on the international success of Toronto events like the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Austin TX based South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) and its Toronto partner, the Toronto, ON based North by North West Festival (NXNW) to launch Elevate Toronto. Photo c/o author.|
On July 11th, leaders from Toronto’s tech startup community gathered near the top of the CN Tower to unveil the event, intended to showcase Toronto’s thriving tech scene as well as promote the city internationally as a hub for investment and innovation.
Elevate Toronto is a non-profit collaboration between 17 technology organizations coming together to create the three-day festival (which will run September 12-14). These organizations include:
A recurring theme among the speakers at the Elevate Toronto unveiling was how diversity and prosperity complement and reinforce each other and provide a bulwark against current populist winds.
Elevate Toronto Chair and former Achievers Inc CEO Razor Suleiman eloquently championed diversity as a strength and not a weakness, offering his gratitude to Canada for welcoming his Ismaili family fleeing persecution in East Africa decades ago.
Suleiman pitched the new festival as a means of strengthening Canada by showcasing its talent to the world as well as enticing Canadian expats in the US and Europe back home. He also spoke of how his team seeks to model Elevate Toronto on internationally successful Toronto events like the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and The South by Southwest Festival (aka SXSW).
Toronto Mayor John Tory spoke next, making the point that supporting a thriving Toronto tech community boosts Canada’s prosperity which, in turn, helps prevent a descent into the xenophobic nationalism seen in the US and UK. Many Canadian expats in the audience, recently returned from the US with tales of racist harrassment, loudly applauded.
Standing in the crowd, the author could detect an energy—a zeal for greatness—emanating from the Toronto tech community. Canada’s space industry—listless and adrift—would do well to emulate the tech community as it seeks to step out of other nations’ shadows and elevate ours to new heights.
“We were very lucky in this instance,” Plainfield Fire Chief David Riddle said. “There was no fire, nobody got hurt by the grace of God.”
As the residents of Lac-Megantic were preparing to acknowledge the 4th anniversary of the oil train disaster that leveled and poisoned their downtown and killed 47 people, residents of Plainfield, Illinois were happy to just be complaining about the odor of spilled oil after a train pulling 115 tank cars of Canadian crude oil derailed near their neighborhood.
…but to allow the rest of us to buy insurance on the free market.Right now, it’s illegal to sell an insurance plan that most people would like to buy. Instead, you have to buy plans that cover millions of things you don’t want and nothing that you do want—all in order to pay for other […]
By Chuck BlackRetired Canadian astronaut Julie Payette will become Canada’s next Governor-General, but don’t get too excited. After all. it’s mostly a symbolic role, so Payette won’t be able to pest…
|Graphic c/o Theo Moudakis/ Toronto Star.|
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 newly elected Trudeau government was expected to do the same, but the whole issue was delayed by complaints from Brazil’s Embraer SA, which had accused the Canadian government of unfair subsidies. This situation was further complicated by the senior shareholders refusing to transfer stockholder control to the government in exchange for the investment.
As a partial solution the sophisticated new line of “C” series jets was spun off into a separate company and new management placed in charge. When Pierre Trudeau’s government poured money into Canadair and de Havilland in the 1970s one of the first things he did was to place some new management into the ailing companies. This is standard company procedure in practically any majority sale of shares to new stockholders.
In February 2017 Justin Trudeau’s government announced its intention to navigate this difficult problem by offering $372Mln CDN in interest-free loans to Bombardier, because the conventional tactic of money for shares/management control would place the majority of the company’s ownership into government hands and would almost certainly trigger a trade dispute with the USA, Brazil and Europe.
Today Bombardier competes with Embraer to be the third largest manufacturer of jets in the world, but it is not the only aircraft manufacturer in Canada. Somewhat ironically, after so many of Canada’s top aerospace engineers moved to Bell Aircraft in Buffalo in the 1950s, Bell ended up moving some of its helicopter manufacturing operations to Quebec.
There have also been dozens of other small aircraft manufacturers in Canada in the last hundred years. Those consigned to history include Vickers, Cub, Noorduyn and Fairchild. However, the light aircraft industry in 2016 still includes Bristol Aerospace and over two dozen other small companies.
The civilian airline market has an equally convoluted history far beyond the scope of this article. Well over two hundred domestic commercial air carriers have operated in Canada, half of them are still in business today, most flying aircraft made outside of Canada.
Satellites and rockets have never supplanted the need for aircraft. They are two completely different tools in our arsenal to study, explore and defend. Canada’s huge size and difficult and varied climate has always required unique aerospace solutions. Whether it be planes capable of landing on water, or on skis (another of George Klein’s inventions), or whether it be long-range interceptors, or better radio transmitters that can defeat the auroral interference; or special kinds of rocket fuel like that developed at the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) for the Black Brant. At the heart of the industry has been what Canadians needed, access to communications and resources.
At the time of writing, yet another cabinet in Ottawa is staying awake at night trying to decide which aircraft to choose for the next generation of Canadians. There is no doubt that as long as Canada has access to remote sensing tools like Radarsat that decision becomes a little easier to make.
On the military side, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) currently has 14 Wings which are spread right across the country. Air Force officers also operate in the space arena, conducting such high profile projects as the Sapphire satellite, which was launched in 2013 by the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to study the problem of space debris in low earth orbit.
The RCAF also utilizes the huge amount of data that pours down from Radarsat-2 through their Polar Epsilon project. Then there is the proposed Enhanced Satellite Communications Project, which if implemented will place two satellites in a high elliptical orbit capable of providing better communications in the arctic and polar regions.
The media spends a lot of time concentrating on the things that need fixing in the RCAF, such as replacing the fighters, or search and rescue helicopters, but the Air Force has over 80 squadrons equipped with more than 20 different aircraft.
The heart of the fleet’s technology spans more than six decades. Although the oldest model is the Lockheed Hercules, the actual Hercules aircraft in service today are modern upgrades purchased in 2010. 45% of the currently operational RCAF fleet is built in the United States, 20% in Europe and Israel and 35% in Canada.
Our foreign built aircraft include:
Our Canadian built aircraft include:
The world has changed a lot since de Havilland and Avro built everything in-house. Many of the largest aerospace manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus don’t make everything in France or the USA, they source components from all over the world. So although we think of Bombardier and MacDonald Detwiler (MDA) as Canadian companies they have factories and facilities on several continents. The global market has changed everything.
As a good example of that, and for anyone still looking for more signs of Canada’s rich aerospace DNA in the Toronto area, one of the great success stories is that of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Located in a 250,000 sq ft plant a short walk from where Victory Aircraft stood in the 1940s, MHI Canada (MHIC) is the latest contributor to the long genealogy of large aircraft part manufacturers in Mississauga.
Known in the industry as a “Tier One” player, MHIC employs over 750 Canadians (many brought in straight out of the local universities and colleges) to quietly and studiously build wings and fuselage sections for Bombardier. That’s more than twice as many people as Sir Roy Dobson started Avro with in 1946. The Mitsubishi name is known and respected around the world, not least for having built the Kibo module for the International Space Station (ISS).
MHIC now has a direct link to Canada’s long aircraft manufacturing history and not just through its obvious connection to Bombardier. The company is also partnering with MDA to apply the outstanding robotic technologies developed for the Canadarm to create world-beating methods for aircraft manufacturing.
As if that isn’t enough of a provenance, the current president of MHIC came up through the ranks at the old Victory/Avro/McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing plant in Malton and makes sure the company has a good working relationship with industry groups such as CASI, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and the Ontario Aerospace Council.
The company is also an engaged and generous partner to the local community on a par with how Avro conducted itself in the 1950s. Perhaps even more encouraging is that MHIC sources its components from more than two dozen other Canadian suppliers, accounting for 65% of their material requirements. Many of the companies in MHIC’s and Bombardier’s supply chain provide world-class technology and are the quiet unsung heroes of modern Canadian aerospace.
Many smaller companies continue to evolve and grow in Canada’s special aerospace market. One highly visible success story is Viking Air of British Columbia.
Initially Viking’s business was selling parts and repairs for Grumman aircraft but in 1983 they took over servicing for the large global fleet of de Havilland aircraft, such as the Beaver and the Otter. By 2006 they had acquired certificates for the Chipmunk, Otter, Beaver, Caribou, Buffalo and the DASH-7. Between 2010 and 2016 Viking sold 60 Twin Otters to 24 countries. In 2016 they purchased more designs from Bombardier for amphibious aircraft. In 2017 Viking is modernizing Canada’s rich aviation heritage and once again shipping iconic designs around the world.
Remote sensing continues to be one of the principal ways that Canada contributes to our understanding and better stewardship of our home planet. The Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) is now leading a Government of Canada research and development effort to prepare for a 3-satellite RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) to be launched in 2018.
It is now a little more than 150 years since William Leitch first proposed rocket space flight from his desk at Queen’s College in Kingston Ontario. Since then, Canadians have:
|In this anniversary year it seems more than appropriate that this uniquely polar phenomenon would now be enshrined on Canadian money. Image c/o Canadian Mint.|
Canada may be 150 years old but since before the dawn of recorded history the eyes of ancient ancestral peoples have gazed up at the astonishing spectacle of the polar aurora and wondered what role it plays in our terrestrial affairs. By trying to answer this question the first inhabitants of this continent took the first steps on a long path of discovery which has ultimately spawned our own unique aerospace industry.
All of this came about as a result of a need to explore the vast remote regions of Canada, to be able to communicate across that same wilderness, and to be able to utilize and protect its resources. Despite all of these amazing accomplishments one thing hasn’t changed; Canadians still need a robust aerospace industry for all of the same reasons which Phil Lapp outlined sixty years ago.
There is still a lot to explore, utilize and protect.
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, “More RADARSAT, More Astronauts, the CSA’s Growing Importance, the ‘Airbus Affair,’ MacDonald Dettwiler & the ‘Canadarm’,” in part fifteen of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.“
To Start at the Beginning: Check out, “Before Canada: HMS Agamemnon, the Telegraph Cable, William Leitch & ‘The Fur Country’,” in part one of “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.“
|On sale now, at Apogee Books.|
Let there be light! Headlamps are one of the most important but easily-forgotten camping items. Whether you’re stuck setting up camp in the dark or just trying to do some leisurely reading in the tent, a headlamp is the happy, hands-free medium between a flashlight and bulky lantern. I don’t ask for much from my headlamps: I want good battery life and it has to be easy to use and rugged enough that I don’t need to worry about babying it while I enjoy some rollicking outdoor adventures.
On July 24 last year, Constable Daniel Montsion, one of the highest-paid police officers in Ontario, beat an unarmed Somalian man, Abdirahman Abdi,to death in front of horrified witnesses. He used specially reinforced gloves, the equivalent of brass knuckles, to…
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has accepted the appointment of former Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette as the next Governor General of Canada.
Following the announcement, Payette thanked the Prime Minister and the Queen “for the amazing chance — a second chance — to serve Canada, again.”
Only one week after leaving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), former commissioner Colette Honorable has joined a law firm lobbying for Dominion Energy, the company behind the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Honorable is joining Reed Smith LLP, a firm lobbying in the state of Virginia for Dominion, the energy giant leading the proposed natural gas project. The Atlantic Coast pipeline, a 550-mile three-state line, still requires FERC’s approval.
Virginia lobbying disclosures show that Reed Smith has been lobbying for Dominion since at least 2015. The firm has so far assigned three lobbyists to work on Dominion’s behalf: William Thomas, Jeffrey Palmore, and Edward Mullen.
Honorable, a Democrat, was appointed as FERC commissioner by former President Obama in August 2014. Previously she served as chairperson of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Reed Smith hired Honorable as a partner in its international energy & natural resources practice.
As DeSmog previously reported, Honorable has ties to a senior executive at Southern Company, a minority stakeholder in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
It’s not often that an article about climate change becomes one of the most hotly debated issues on the internet — especially in the midst of a controversial G20 summit.
But that exact thing happened following the publication of a lengthy essay in New York Magazine titled “The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, Economic Collapse, a Sun that Cooks Us: What Climate Change Could Wreak — Sooner Than You Think.”
In the course of 7,200 words, author David Wallace-Wells chronicled the possible impacts of catastrophic climate change if current emissions trends are maintained, including, but certainly not limited to: mass permafrost melt and methane leaks, mass extinctions, fatal heat waves, drought and food insecurity, diseases and viruses, “rolling death smog,” global conflict and war, economic collapse and ocean acidification.
Slate political writer Jamelle Bouie described the essay on Twitter as “something that will haunt your nightmares.”
It’s a fair assessment. Reading it feels like a series of punches in the gut, triggering emotions like despair, hopelessness and resignation.
But here’s the thing: many climate psychologists and communicators consider those feelings to be the very opposite of what will compel people to action.
In late March, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt decided that his agency would not place an outright ban on a pesticide manufactured by Dow Chemical called chlorpyrifos. The decision came after a federal court ordered the EPA to make a final decision on whether or not to ban the pesticide, which the Obama administration had proposed banning in 2015. The chemical has been on the market in the United States since 1965 under the brand name Lorsban and indoor use of the chemical has been banned for more than a decade.
In its decision to allow the pesticide to continue being used in the United States, the EPA went against its own agency’s findings that the pesticide presented unnecessary risks to American citizens. And while Pruitt’s EPA officials did not deny those findings, they did claim additional studies on the chemical were still needed before they could ban it, thus allowing the product’s continued use.
In the three and a half months since the EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision, the story has become far more complex than the usual “regulators siding with industry” trope that has played out far too often.
A few days ago, a well-known celebrity trainer, whose methods I’ve discussed HERE, opened a new facility on the Upper East Side in New York City, with monthly memberships around the $900 a month mark. This alone caused a lot of uproar from people on social media, ranging from stating it’s a waste of money…… Read More
The rot began long ago, with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appointing far-right John Crispo to the CBC Board of Directors. It accelerated with the appointment of the ridiculous Richard Stursberg, who wanted to rescue the Mothercorp from the “elites” by…
An Ontario wildlife rescue centre is bursting at the seams with injured turtles.
The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough says its hospital has treated some 650 turtles this year alone, mostly for injuries resulting from motor vehicle impacts.
“This isn’t a new problem, turtles are always in danger,” says Sue Carstairs, the executive and medical director of the centre, “but we have seen a spike in admissions this year and we’re not sure why.”
When Pottsie accidentally comes to her room and performs a beautiful monologue about how much he loves her (the number on the door fell off so he thought it was one of the professor’s–it’s a whole thing) she confesses her love and they kiss in the darkness.t’s a beautifully shot scene, and close-ups of Sugarpuss […]
I asked about this on Facebook yesterday (because that way people could comment) but yes, the Sandwich Shop Paragraph of Doom is yielding a great deal of… stuff, some of it possibly more reflective of critics than of Brooks.I maintain that many of them are missing the point, in “stupid or liar?” fashion.I dislike James […]
More from my site“At their best [Hipgnosis] created utterly memorable and oddly moving images”“Why rock fans are loyal to the brand, not the band”Gavin McInnes: Proud Boys Declare Victory in BerkeleyLet’s see if Tim Sommer can explain the whole “Chuck Berry is a brilliant lyricist” thing to me
Steve Sailer writes:…inciting his enemies to declare what’s really been on their minds all along. Thus, even cohesion in Western Europe, which is favored by Trump’s Polish hosts, is now viewed as a racist plot against People of Color, denying them their rightful right to migrate en masse to Europe. (…)Poland is extremely nondiverse. Thus, […]
7 Summer Appetizers to make your summer nights on the patio delicious! – – – – – Ah summer. The season of easy, dreamy living. And the time of year when everything tastes better outdoors on the patio, glass of wine in hand. So what better way to enjoy this beautiful season than with a repertoire of delicious summer appetizer recipes? You’re in luck…I’m sharing 7 appetizers that are perfect for summer. Full of fresh and flavourful summer ingredients. 7 Summer Appetizers I’m sharing the recipe for this Caramelized Onion, Apple and Brie Flatbread over on the Kendall-Jackson blog. This is a perfect summer appetizer that you can make on your BBQ! It’s great as an appie or a light meal as well! Summer is the best time to find figs around here, making them the perfect fruit for a summer appetizer. This recipe for Figs with Ricotta Cheese & Honey is simple and so delicious! This Cherry & Wine Compote with Goat Cheese is a delicious summer appetizer! Serve it up with chunks of fresh bread, and enjoy with a glass of wine. I dare you not to eat the whole thing. 😉 Tomato Basil Bruschetta is always a summer favourite. There’s no other time […]
One of the largest icebergs ever recorded has broken away from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf.
The 5,800 square-kilometre chunk of ice had been hovering near the breaking point since the spring, when rapid advancement of a crack in the shelf left the iceberg hanging on by a thread of just four and a half kilometres of ice. The final break was identified by NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite and is believed to have happened sometime between July 10 and July 12.
A private contractor hired by the state of Michigan to assess an Enbridge oil pipeline running under the Great Lakes was working simultaneously for the company on a related pipeline, a DeSmog investigation has found.
The contractor, Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc., is leading one of two studies commissioned last year by Michigan to provide a risk assessment for Enbridge’s 64-year old Line 5 pipeline, which crosses the Straits of Mackinac where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet.
These revelations come two weeks after Michigan terminated the work of the contractor conducting the second study after discovering that one of its team members was working at the same time for Enbridge on a different project.
The news can be found here. As you can see at the site, a “memorial event” is to be held tomorrow at the Richview Library in Etobicoke. Tributes will be given by such CDN Neo Nazi-types as Marc Lemire and Paul Fromm. Who knows who else…
Look, I’m not even a fan of the guy, but:Ignore the laughable “Well, I never!” complaints about his politics, and you’ll find yourself here:However, this lyrically focused musical consolation is something produced – but by no means consumed – almost exclusively by white men. If you aren’t one, you may still be desperate to latch […]
More from my siteIf you wanna watch Jim Carrey die horribly, then ‘The Dead Pool’ (1988) is for youHonest Trailer for ‘Die Hard’ (1988) agrees: ‘This movie is perfect’‘The Killer Shrews’ (1959). Dogs. In carpet remnants. Really.“The Exploitation Movie About the Zodiac Killer, Released as a Trap to Catch Him”
A new species of flying squirrel has been found in coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest. Before now, this “new” species was thought to have been the already-known northern squirrel.
Brian Arbogast, an associate professor of biology at the University of North Carolina, discovered the new cryptic species (distinct species that look indistinguishable from each other) as he was examining the genetic information of the Burke Museum’s collections of flying squirrels in Seattle.
For the week of July 10th, 2017, here are a few of the stories we’re tracking in the Commercial Space blog:
|Perhaps they self-identify as visible minorities? New Canadian astronauts Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey visit the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) “rover room,” essentially an indoor sandpit, during a a tour of the CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, QC on July 4th, 2017. Photo c/o Graham Hughes / Canadian Press.|
But if you define a space program in political terms and its astronauts as representative “role models” for the rest of the country to emulate, then it’s no longer a space program.
It’s a social program.
But with that said, it’s important to note that the July 9th, 2017 Toronto Star editorial, “Canada’s space program has a diversity problem,” does make two useful points.
First of all, Canada’s astronauts (fourteen in total, since the program began in 1983) are “exclusively white, and skewed male, problematic trends out-of-step with national demographics.”
Secondly, the Federal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has begun holding up Canada’s astronauts and their accomplishments “as ambassadors for science and technology travelling the country encouraging young Canadians to pursue their education in STEM fields,” to a far greater extent than previous Federal governments.
As outlined in the July 1st, 2017 Canadian Press post, “Justin Trudeau unveils Canada’s newest astronauts at Canada 150 event,” our current Prime Minister even took time out of his busy schedule to introduce “Canada’s next top astronauts,” Canadian Forces pilot Joshua Kutryk and University of Cambridge lecturer Jennifer Sidey, during a July 1st, 2017 Canada Day speech on Parliament Hill.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Visiting schools and acting “inspirational” is certainly an easier gig than “boldly going” where no one has gone before. It’s also cheaper than building rockets or begging rides on rockets built by other nations and doesn’t really require much more than a terrestrial based travel agent for support.
This could be a part of the reason why, as outlined in the June 22th, 2017, post, “Classic Trek Offers Advice to the Canadian Space Industry on Our Latest Postponed Space Plan,” our latest Canadian space plan is being postponed.
Be inspired by that.
|A CSA infographic showing the official reasons why Canada continues to invest in rover technology. Among the unofficial reasons, at least as outlined in the June 4th, 2017 post, “Part 12: A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets,” is an intentional CSA decision to “not branch out into entirely new technologies for which we have no heritage,” which is kind of a weird decision for an innovative research and development organization to make, especially if it wants to remain an innovative research and development organization. But so long as the CSA has made rovers in the past, it’s an easy decision to continue building them. Graphic c/o CSA.|
As outlined in the July 7th, 2017 Federal government Buy and Sell procurement website post, “Development of enabling space technologies (9F063-170039/A),” Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), on behalf of the CSA, is soliciting notices of proposed procurement (NPP) to develop and advance three “enabling priority technologies” for potential future international collaborations relating to unmanned rover development.
The three programs include:
- The development of an “autonomy software framework (ASF)” to facilitate unmanned exploration. Up to $800K CDN has been allocated for this project.
- The development of “Mobility & Environmental Rover Integrated Technology (MERIT).” Up to $1,350K CDN has been allocated to this project.
- A “scalable wheels & advanced rover motion (SWARM) program,” to develop improved wheels for potential rovers. Up to $350K CDN has been allocated to this project.
The latest NPP supposedly builds on previous CSA work in this area, beginning in 2009, when the Federal Conservative government under then Prime Minister Stephen Harper allocated $110Mln CDN in funding to the CSA as part of its 2009 Economic Action Plan to cover rover development, a “next generation Canadarm,” and other smaller projects.
However, as outlined in the September 26th, 2016 post, “The REAL Reason Why Canada Won’t Be Participating in the NASA Resolve Mission Anytime Soon, Probably!,” the CSA has only been allocated funding for rover research and development, not for a final flight version.
|Out standing in their field. None of the Canadian rovers pictured here are actually flight ready and none of the designs have ever been sold to any national space agency or private corporation. But there’s sure a lot of them and that’s gotta count for something. For a complete listing of the CSA developed rovers shown in this photo, check out the October 28th, 2016 CSA post on “The Canadian Space Agency’s Fleet of Rovers.”|
Given that the estimated cost of a flight ready CSA designed rover could easily be well north of several hundred million Canadian dollars, its unlikely that NASA or the European Space Agency (ESA), which are both funding indigenous rovers as part of their own exploration programs, would contribute to the completion of a Canadian built rover.
Other space agencies, and even private contractors, such as the US based Google Lunar X-Prize team Moon Express (MoonEx), last profiled in the June 5th, 2017 post, “Only Seven Years after Bob Richards Left Canada, His Rover is Going to the Moon,” are also building their own rovers and don’t need any assistance from the CSA.
But sources in the CSA still believe the space agency could sell at least a few component parts for someones else’s rover and therefore will continue on with the research.
|The BoldlyGo Institute, a “non-governmental, non-profit,” US based organization “founded to address highly compelling scientific questions through new approaches to developing space science missions,” is seeking private funding for missions like Project Blue (above), a space telescope designed to directly image extrasolar planets in the Alpha Centauri system. Photo c/o BoldlyGo Institute.|
As outlined in the July 10th, 2017 Space Review post, “Seeking private funding for space science,” private space capabilities in this area are proliferating.
The article provided an overview of the presentations made at the 2017 Dawn of Private Space Science conference, which was held at Columbia University from June 3rd – 4th, 2017.
The event attempted to connect “key players in the private space industry, space policy, and science to encourage collaboration on scientific research objectives in space.”
For more, check out upcoming stories in the Commercial Space blog.
Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.
|US President Donald Trump stands with VP Pence (left) and former astronaut/ space icon Edwin Eugene (“Buzz“) Aldrin Jr. during the June 30th signing ceremony to re-establish the US NSC. Aldrin ad-libbed “To Infinity and Beyond,” to commemorate the ceremony while Trump added, “Infinity. It could be infinity. We really don’t know. But it could be. There’s gotta be something. But it could be infinity, right?” To see the complete video of the signing, including Aldrin’s comment (beginning at the 02:21 mark), simply click on the screenshot above. Video c/o The Washington Post.|
On June 30th, the signing ceremony for the executive order re-establishing the NSC took place at the White House. The key member of the council will be its chairman, US Vice President Mike Pence. The new NSC’s mandate includes the coordination of military, civil, and commercial space activities and the setting of broader goals for the United States in space.
As outlined in the June 30th, 2017 Washington Post article, “Trump revives National Space Council,” Both Trump and Pence spoke at the ceremony, though their remarks mostly consisted of shop-worn platitudes about restoring American leadership in space and the human need to explore.
Beneath the red white and blue platitudes, however, another message can be found. The crowd at the ceremony mainly consisted of NASA’s traditional group of contractors; nearly all of them prime- or subcontractors on the US Space Launch System (SLS) and its Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV), the expensive, NASA funded, designed and built vehicle for future “deep space exploration.”
After the ceremony, the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE), an American based space advocacy organization supporting the continued government investment in space exploration. issued a statement noting that many of its members were invited. These included:
Noticeably absent from the event were the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), a competing private spaceflight industry group more focused on NewSpace companies (they weren’t invited) and the two most prominent NewSpace leaders, SpaceX‘s Elon Musk and Blue Origin‘s Jeff Bezos, who were unable to attend the ceremony due to the short notice they were given.
The move could be seen as an attempt to shut out NewSpace from the NSC with (perhaps) some added retribution for Elon Musk’s resignation from Donald Trump’s business advisory council earlier this year.
A new “user’s advisory group” will also be created to advise the new council. According to the executive order, the advisory group’s purpose will be to “ensure that the interests of industries and other non-federal entities involved in space activities, including in particular commercial entities, are adequately represented in the council.”
Whether this group will include NewSpace firms or only traditional NASA contractors remains anyone’s guess.
But the civilian sector isn’t the only sector looking to the high frontier.
On July 3rd, the US House Armed Services Committee (HASC) included a provision in the House version of the 2018 US defence budget that would create a separate military branch dedicated to space: the US Space Corps. It would also create a separate joint command, the US Space Command.
Currently, the US Air Force oversees the US military’s space affairs, including procurement of launches for military and intelligence satellites as well as the operation of major US launch facilities.
Under the proposed legislation, the new service would be administered by the Secretary of the Air Force (in much the same way as the Marine Corps falls under the US Department of the Navy), but would be a separate branch of the military and be granted its own membership of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As outlined in the July 8th, 2017 Gizmodo post, “Congress Close to Approving a New Space Army,” the proposal faces an uphill battle as the US Senate’s version of the defence budget does not currently include the same provision. Such political maneuvering will likely echo the battles once fought over the creation of the US Air Force.
Still, the proposal shows recognition of the need for better protection of space assets as well as, perhaps, a tacit acknowledgment that the opening space frontier will need sheriffs as well as cowboys.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Mark Steyn pens a must-read: So Beethoven’s Eroica, Brahms’ Fourth, Tchaikovsky’s Sixth would be “real lame” without “the influence of the Middle East and Muslims”. So says a senior writer in the establishment newspaper of America’s capital. On the basis of what? A lone reference to the umpteenth lavishly-funded straw-clutching special-pleading Islamofest created to explain […]
Fueling U.S. Forward, the Koch-funded campaign to “rebrand” fossil fuels as “positive” and “sustainable,” has released a new video attacking the “Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,” signaling a possible strategic pivot from straightforward fossil fuel cheerleading to electric vehicle (EV) and clean energy bashing.