Canadians Back in the Space Game

In the grand scheme of international space exploration where Canada stands today may be attributed to a choice made by Canada’s 13th Prime Minister John Diefenbaker more than 50 years ago.  In February of 1959 Diefenbaker’s government cancelled the Avro Arrow project.  The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was an interceptor aircraft, designed and manufactured in Malton, Ontario over a period of five years and at the time was said to have been the destination of the country’s aerospace industry. Where would Canadian scientists and designers be today if a project as challenging as the Arrow had continued to be supported?  Would more interest in aerospace technology have been bred into our collective psyche?  Or is Canada’s current standing in space exploration and technology design healthy?  Quite possibly it is. It was recently announced that Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will take over command of the International Space Station starting November 2012, granting Canadians bragging rights for a good six months while Hadfield floats in zero gravity performing experiments that we could only dream of understanding. The geology instrument that will enable NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover to determine the chemical composition of the rocks and soil on Mars is Canada’s contribution to the mission.  The Curiosity rover is set to land on the red planet this August and it is exciting to know that because of Canadian innovation, in part, it is going to make learning more about Mars a possibility. Perhaps the most ambitious of all current Canadian space oriented projects, if not the most curious, has to do with the nation possibly prepping to enter the space race as potential miners of the moon. Canada is enhancing its space program by actively utilizing its resources which is maintaining its position on the space stage.  The most important thing that can come out of all of this will be to engage a new generation of scientists and designers who will continue the research currently being done. A Huffington Post article recently wrote, “When it comes to the future of Canada’s space program [Chris] Hadfield said this country will continue to co-operate and fly with other nations, trading on the expertise of our astronauts.” “We are doing, especially in the Canadian Space Agency, we are doing our absolute best with every dollar that we’re given to try and get the most return from it. We work hard at it.” Hadfield was quoted as saying in the article. Maybe during the time of Diefenbaker international efforts weren’t being collectively pooled (Cold War anyone?) so understandably funding such ambitious projects as the Arrow were hard to rationalize.  But now it seems we know more about sharing and the importance of collaboration.  Today our country proudly works with international partners to create, test, experiment and launch new and exciting projects that will only further our understanding of the final frontier! | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS | The Ontarian, Writer, Editor

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