Canada in Space - Astronauts
Knight's Canadian Info Collection


Canada In Space

Making Space History

Canada's National Flag

The Canadian CSA Logo Space Agency

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was established in 1989 with the mandate to promote the peaceful use and development of space for the social and economic benefit of Canadians.

Canada's experience in space began in 1962, with the launching of the Alouette 1 research satellite. Canada was the third country in the world after Russia and the United States to design and build its own satellite.

With the launching of Anik A1 in 1972, Canada became the first country in the world to have a commercial geostationary communications satellite network.

Since its establishment, the CSA has branched out into several key areas confirming Canada's position as a world leader in space technology. Some of these are described below.

Canadian Space History
Canada has had a long and successful history in the space program. We are a world leader in the satellite and telecommunications industry. With the Remote Manipulator System, also known as the Canadarm, we are a world leader in the space robotics industry. This continues with the installation of the new Canadarm2 on the ISS

Since the early 1990's, Canadian astronauts have steadily been involved in the Space Shuttle Program by accompanying US astronauts on board the space shuttle and participating in various space missions.

The following is a brief "time-line" of Canada's Space History
1959 Agreement with NASA concerning Canada's first satellite, Alouette. The design, construction and financing of the research satellite was ensured by Canada, while launching facilities were provided by NASA.
1962Beginning of the space age for Canada with the launch of Alouette 1 at NASA's facilities, making Canada the third country in the world to have a spacecraft in orbit.
1965 Launch of Alouette 2
1972 Launch of Anik A-1, making Canada the first country in the world to have its own domestic geostationary communication satellite network.
Establishment of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing.
1975 Launch of Anik A-3
1980Cooperative agreement with ESA (European Space Agency) for the Olympus Satellite Program. Olympus is the largest hybrid satellite to be launched for civil communications in the Western world.
1981 First operational use of the Canadarm during the second flight of US Space Shuttle Columbia.
1983 Establishment of the Canadian Astronaut Program.
1984 Canadian Astronaut Marc Garneau takes part in the flight of US space Shuttle Challenger and performs a set of Canadian experiments (CANEX).
1985 Canada signs a preliminary agreement with the USA to participate in the Space Station Program by developing the Mobile Servicing System (MSS).
Selection of Canadian Astronaut Steve MacLean for the CANEX-2 mission, a series of Canadian experiments in space science, space technology and life sciences conducted on board the shuttle, in 1992.
1987 Launch of Swedish satellite Viking carrying a Canadian-built ultra-violet camera to transmit images of the aurora borealis from space.
Establishment of the Space Division of the National Research Council Canada (NRC).
1989 Creation of the Canadian Space Agency.
1990 Selection of Canadian Astronaut Roberta Bondar for the IML-1 (International Microgravity Laboratory) mission.
1992 Canadian Astronaut Roberta Bondar participates in the IML-1 flight, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, launched January 22, 1992.
Canadian Astronaut Steve MacLean flies on board Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-52 mission in October 22, 1992, and performs the CANEX-2 set of experiments.
1994 Four Canadian astronauts simulate a space mission during which they conduct 22 international scientific experiments in a hyperbaric chamber as part of their training.
1995 Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield flies as Canada's first Mission Specialist on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis during mission STS-74. Astronaut Hadfield was the first Canadian astronaut to set foot onboard the Russian space station MIR.
1996 Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau (Canada's firsts astronaut in space) flies again on board Space Shuttle Endeavour for mission STS-77.
Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk flies on board Space Shuttle Columbia for mission STS-78, a life and microgravity mission.
1996 Baikonur, Azerbaijan - Canadian UVAI (Ultra-Violet Auroral Imager) instrument launched on board the Russian Interball-2 spacecraft.
1997 Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason flies as Payload Specialist on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour on his first mission to space. Astronaut Tryggvason was the principal investigator for the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount; a device which isolates delicate experiments from vibrations caused by the shuttle.
1998 Canadian astronaut Dave Williams flies as Mission Specialist on STS-90, also known as Neurolab, another life and microgravity mission.
1999 In May of 1999, Canadian astronaut Julie Payette flies her first supply mission as part of STS-96 to the International Space Station construction project. First Canadian to visit the ISS construction site.
2000 Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau flies his third mission as Flight Engineer on the Shuttle Endeavour during mission STS-97 to deliver and install solar panels and supplies to the International Space Station using the space shuttle's CanadArm. He becomes the first Canadian to enter the ISS crew area.
2001 STS-100 travelled into space on April 19, 2001. The primary purpose of the flight was to deliver and install the new Canadarm2 (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), as well as an Italian-made Re-supply Logistics Module. During the flight three spacewalks took place, which makes Col. Chris Hadfield the first Canadian to ever leave a spacecraft and float free in space. He completed 2 such EVA's during this flight.
2001 The Canadarm Handshake - On April 28, 2000, the ISS's new Canadarm2 successfully handed its 3,000-pound packing crate to space shuttle Endeavour's Canadarm. This unprecedented "mechanical Canadian handshake" is considered to be the most complicated robotic feat ever attempted in space.
2002 Mission STS-111 (Flight UF-2) from June 5 to 19, 2002, saw the Canadian Mobile Remote Servicer Base System (MBS) installed on NASA's Mobile Transporter, a second component of the Canadian Mobile Servicing System (MSS). Canadarm2 -- already installed on the Space Station in April 2001 -- will then have the capability to "inchworm" or walk from the U.S. lab and travel along the Station truss to work sites.
2003 The Canadian OSTEO-2 research project, to study bone loss during spaceflight was on board STS-107 (Columbia) which was lost Feb 01, 2003.
2003 June 30 - Launch from Plesetsk, Russia of Canada's microsatellite 'MOST' (Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars Telescope). It is nicknamed "Humble". This small (60 Cm wide by 30 Cm deep) suitcase-sized telescope orbits every 100 minutes at a speed of 27,000 Km/Hr and is 820 Km above Earth.
2003 SciSat-1 (Science Satellite) is an atmospheric research satellite to improve the understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer, with a special emphasis on the changes occurring over Canada and in the Arctic. It will investigate processes that control the distribution of ozone in the upper atmosphere. SCISAT-1, which weighs approximately 330 pounds, was placed in a 400-mile-high polar orbit after launch on August 12, 2003.
2004 Anik F2 is a Canadian communications satelite launched via Ariane 5G rocket from Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana. It is the largest communications satelite ever launched at 5,950 Kg (nearly 6 tonnes). It will be used for two-way high-speed internet in North America over the next 15 years.
2006 September 09- Steve MacLean visited the International Space Station as a crew member of flight STS-115 aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. MacLean participated in two the four extravehicular activities (spacewalks), making him the second Canadian to walk in space. MacLean became the first Canadian to operate the ISS Canadarm2 when the crew added trusses to the Station and deploys solar array panels. Canadarm1 "handed" these trusses to Canadarm2 in a "Handshake", guided by Steve McLean.
2007 August 08 - Flight STS-118 with Dave Williams aboard, (his second mission) to deliver additional truss segments and solar panels to the International Space Station. His 3 extravehicular activities (spacewalks) set a new Canadian record for the most space walks and another for the longest time outside the ISS.
2007 December - RADARSAT-2 - is be the most advanced commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite in the world. Providing data continuity to RADARSAT-1 users, it will strengthen Canada's leadership role in the design, deployment and operation of SAR technology and serves as a milestone in the continuing trend to privatize the Earth Observation business in Canada.
2008 March 11 - Spacelab Pallet carrying the "Canada Hand" or SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) and Extended Duration Orbiter Pallet. 'Dextra' is a two-armed robot that features vices and power tools on the end on its seven-jointed appendages. It will be attached to the Canadarm2 and will aid in building the ISS.
2009EADS Astrium of Europe built the Anik F3 Communications satellite for Telesat Canada. The satellite will serve North America from an orbital slot at 118.7 degrees west during its 15-year projected lifetime. International Launch Services (ILS) of the United States launched the satellite on a Proton-M booster in April 2009.
2009TMA15 - Six Months in Space for Canada - On May 27th, 2009 Dr. Robert Thirsk became the first Canadian to launch aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle and to participate in an Expedition mission to the ISS. During his 6 month long duration flight abord ISS, he conducted Canadian science and technology experiments and acted as a robotics specialist. In addition to performing specific scientific experiments on the space station he served as the crew's medical officer. Dr. Thirsk returned to Earth on that same Soyuz vehicle in November.
2009STS-127 - Installation of the Kibo Japanese Experiment Laboratory - Julie Payette flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour for mission STS-127, launched July 15, 2009. During the mission, the crew delivered to the ISS and installed the Kibo Japanese Experiment Laboratory. This was Julie Payette's second mission in space and onboard the International Space Station. She joined fellow Canadian Bob Thirsk onboard ISS for a several days. The astronaut crew also delivered critical supplies to the Station, as well as experiments that will be subsequently berthed to the Kibo platform.
2012Mission 34/35 - Take Command of the ISS - Commander Chris Hadfield launched December 19, 2012 aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle to the International Space Station. This Mission was Comm. Hadfield's third to the ISS. During his 5 month visit on the ISS he took and tweeted many excellent photos of the earth from space. He also had several chats with school children in Canada. He took command of the ISS and is the first Canadian to fill that position. He returned to earth on May 13, 2013 on the Soyuz space vehicle.
2018-2019Mission 57/58 - Extended visit to the ISS - On December 3, 2018, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Dr. David Saint-Jacques travelled to space on his first mission, "Perspective." He spent about six and a half months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where he did science experiments, installed and operated the Canadarm2 and tested new technologies. He also "walked in space" several times, as scheduled. Like many other astronauts, he spent time taking pictures of the Earth and sharing his experience with Canadians. From space, he engaged with young people in their classrooms to make them part of the mission and spark their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He returned to earth on June 24, 2019 after 204 days aboard the ISS.

NOTE: 'STS' means 'Space Transportation System' (or ... the Space Shuttle)

Canadian Space Programs
The Canadian Space Agency is involved in a variety of space programs, such as Radarsat, the Canadian Astronaut Program, the Space Science Program, the Canadarm2, and the International Space Station,. The following will give some futher details of each program:-

RadarSat is a Canadian satellite program involving the private sector, the Canadian provinces and the United States. Launched in 1995, this sophisticated remote sensing satellite has a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a powerful microwave instrument able to transmit and receive signals through clouds, fog, smoke, and darkness, and obtain high-quality images of the Earth in all weather. It is used to monitor and map renewable resources for the agricultural and forestry industries. RADARSAT gathers data essential for more efficient resource management, ice, ocean and environmental monitoring and Arctic and offshore surveillance. Although it is now an ageing sattellite, it continues to perform in accordance with the original design specifications.

The Space Science Program
Space Science is the study of the universe, the solar system, the near-Earth environment and the physical and biological processes which occur in space. The Space Science Program provides opportunities for Canadian scientists and engineers to participate in quality national and international projects.

Officially known as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), the Canadarm was Canada's first involvement in crewed space flight. At a cost of approximately $100 million to design, develop and manufacture, it has become a symbol of Canada's contribution to the space program, and has established Canada as a world leader in the field of space robotics.

The first Canadarm was built by SPAR Aerospace, under contract to the National Research Council of Canada (now the Canadian Space Agency) as a contribution to NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

Canadarm performs various tasks. It can retrieve satellites and place them in the cargo bay for repairs, using an end effector (a "grabber", or hand) especially designed for manipulating payloads (like satellites) in orbit. It has also been used as a mobile work platform for astronauts during space walks and the Hubble Space Telescope repair.

In total, there were five Canadarms built between April of 1981 and August of 1993. Three arms remain in service; two were destroyed in the Challenger and Columbia Shuttle accidents.

The Canadarm itself is comprised of upper and lower boom arms and an end effector. A control centre at the rear of the flight deck has two hand controllers, one for rotation (pitch, roll and yaw) and the second for 'translation' (i.e. movement-left, right, up down, forward and backward). It is capable of accurately manoeuvering payloads of 30,000 kg (in the weightlessness of space).

The "New" Canadarm2

The Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Canada Space Agency's elaborate robotics system is contributing several essential components to the International Space Station:- the Mobile Servicing System (MSS), which is composed of three elements; the Space Station Remote Manipulator (SSRMS), a 55-foot-long "arm"; the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System (MBS), a work platform and storage area; and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), better known as the "Canadahand." Expanding upon its space shuttle success, this new arm, which has two arms of its own, will actually "walk" around the ISS using its 2 gripper-hands.

The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) will be added to Canadarm2 in 200?. This will be a touch-sensitive module, which will allow the operating astronaut to actually "feel" through the SPDM and instantly respond - just like a human hand is able to feel things that it touches.

The Mobile Servicing System, is pivotal to the continued ISS construction and operation in orbit. The Canadarm2 will play a key role in the Space Station assembly and maintenance, moving equipment and supplies around the Station, releasing and capturing satellites, supporting astronauts working in space, and servicing instruments and other payloads attached to the Space Station. Once in place, Canada will provide logistic and engineering support for the MSS.

The International Space Station

The ISS The International Space Station, named 'Alpha', is a joint partnership between 16 nations including Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan, eleven European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom) and Brazil. The station will provide a permanently crewed space base in low Earth orbit (at an average altitude of 375 kilometers or 230 statute miles). This altitude varies slightly each day. This will allow for continued scientific research in a microgravity environment. It will cost over +60 Billion dollars (US) and will take 4 to 5 years to complete construction. Canada has contributed 1.4 Billion dollars to the project to date.

Space Station Details
The International Space Station (ISS) will be the largest structure in space. When completed in 2010-2011 it will be 290 feet long, have a wing span of over 350 feet, and will weigh 415 tons. It will take over 60 launches to complete construction and is the largest international space project ever undertaken. Powered by solar arrays, it will be able to generate 110 kilowatts of power. When completed it will support a permanent international crew of seven astronauts and their experiments. The assembly will require launch vehicles from the United States, Russia, and possibly Japan and France. It is being assembled by flight crews onboard the Space Shuttles and by the rotating crews of astronauts now living on the ISS.

You can study the construction the the ISS in a step-by-step graphic produced by USA Today.

Click Here

Some images and text courtesy Canadian Space Agency - Canadian Space Agency Website

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