Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Reading for Space Geeks

From Atomic Rockets, by Winchell Chung.
I've been receiving quite a bit of positive feedback from my June 13th, 2011 post titled "A "Gulliver's Travel's" Overview of Current US Space Policy Advocates" with it's focus on the people, the organizations and the tools being used to help define our next great space future.

However, as first mentioned way back in my July 3rd, 2009 post "Historical Accounts and Comparisons of Our Present Space Age with Other Era's" it's also useful to be aware of relevant history and related antecedents to insure that we don't just end up making the same mistakes as the people who came before us.

So here are seven interesting articles, websites and publications which provide a bit of context to the current space debates happening here and elsewhere:
From Beyond Apollo.
  • Canada's Fifty Years in Space: The COSPAR Anniversary -  By Gordon Sheppard and Agnes Kruchio is a book on the history of Canadian ground based science activity, how that activity placed Canada in the forefront of nations with knowledge of space in 1958 and what Canada ended up doing with those skills over the next fifty years. Of note is the fact that the book finishes up in 2008, just before Canadian corporate space icon MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) attempted, unsuccessfully to sell it's space focused assets to US based Alliant Techsystems (ATK). This single action essentially transformed Canadian space activities from being primarily science focused into a mostly political activity.

Future Wars in Space by paleofuture
  • Space Mission Analysis and Design - By James R Wertz and Wiley Larson and known as SMAD in the astronautics trade. If you've got $200 dollars for some beach reading, this is the book the pro's use. It's a textbook quality publication and if it's technical and related to space activities but not in here, then it just doesn't matter from an engineering standpoint.
    With a little luck, this summer we may each get the chance to enjoy something as uplifting and as amazing as the original A Trip to the Moon, (seen below) which utilized innovative animation plus special effects (including the iconic shot of the rocket ship landing in the moon's eye) and incorporated enough scientific accuracy (for the time period, at least) to become what is generally perceived of as being the very first science fiction film.


    From: Dan Linehan (http://www.dslinehan.com/).

    Hey Chuck,

    Here's another book you might consider for summertime reading. I'm the author of "SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History." My new book just came out called "Burt Rutan's Race to Space." I've got some cool blurbs and reviews already. Here's something from Paul Allen and Hoot Gibson:
    "With Burt Rutan’s Race to Space, Dan Linehan tells the dramatic story of Burt Rutan’s pioneering aviation work that has included building a racing biplane, the X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne and Voyager, the first airplane to fly around the world.

    "Linehan gives Rutan the credit he is due as one of the architects of twenty-first century private space travel. As he did with his earlier book, SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History, Linehan also shows himself to be an engaging writer who combines scientific know-how with behind-the-scenes reporting that makes Rutan’s Race read like an adventure story." -- Paul Allen.
    "Dan has done a fabulous job of describing the incredible journey of one of the most accomplished aircraft designers of all time, Burt Rutan. If you weren’t impressed by Burt before now, you certainly will be after reading this absolutely fascinating story of the incredible journey of Burt Rutan—from a young model airplane champion to legendary aircraft designer among the ranks of Douglas, Heinemann, Lockheed, and Kelly Johnson.

    "I personally read it from one end to the other and loved it. This is a book you will read from cover to cover without being able to put it down. What a fascinating story of the aircraft designer of our time, Burt Rutan. His accomplishments as an aircraft designer and builder revolutionized the way airplanes are made.

    "Way to go Dan Linehan for creating a mesmerizing collection of stories!" -- Hoot Gibson
    Please feel free to check out my website listed above for more info. Best wishes,


    Editors Note: I'm still having trouble posting comments but if there is something you'd like to comment on, I'm posting comments manually so don't be shy. Send your questions, queries, concerns and comments to mr.chuck.black@gmail.com.

      Saturday, June 25, 2011

      "Astronut" Brett at NASA for Final Shuttle Launch

      The Astronuts Kids Space Club is only a little over a year old, but eight year old "astronaut commander" Brett Bielecki has already received an invitation from active duty NASA astronaut and Associate Director of the NASA office of Education, Leland Melvin to be a guest of the NASA Office of Education for the final launch of the space shuttle Atlantis on July 8th, 2011.
      Brett and Ray Bielecki.
      The invitation also covers Brett's father Ray, who spends his days working at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Toronto HQ and his evenings and weekends helping his son set up the monthly informational and educational "missions" for approximately fifteen other boys and girls to learn about space, rockets, astronomy and science.

      Skype guests and in-person presenters to the group have included CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, artist and puppeteer Frank Meschkuleit, Irene Efston (the president of the Efston Science Superstore), Colin Dow (the president of Sigma Rockets), Francois Van Heerden (an amateur astronomer from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada), Ken Schellenberg (the president of AntiGravity Research Corporation, which builds water powered rockets), Alan Nursall (who reports on science for the Discovery Channel), Bob McDonald (the host of the CBC program “Quirks and Quarks"), Paul Delaney (an astronomy professor at York University), Julie Tomme, (from the Royal Ontario Museum), Kevin Shortt (the president of the Canadian Space Society), Suzanne Martini (the store manger of Spectrum Educational) and quite a few others.

      The group has also arranged field trips to the Ontario Science Centre, the Star Symposium at York University, the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and York University Observatory.

      Leyland Melvin initially learned about the Astronut kids through an invitation to present via skype during club Mission #13, which was held on May 22nd, 2011. Some of the highlights from that mission are included in the short video above.

      According to Ray Bielecki:
      Every time we do this, one or two great things happen that keep us motivated and enthused and looking forward to the next mission.

      Sometimes it's as simple as the positive feedback we get from from our astronuts and their parents. But we also get lots of feedback from the educators and scientists we've invited who support us and who follow-up on our invitations with further suggestions and additional invitations to educational events and things we wouldn't have known about without an active interest in wanting to do this.
      These invitations have included the already discussed trip to view the final shuttle launch and an offer to attend the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) 2011 Space Educators Conference, being held from August 9th - 11th at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Longueuil, Quebec.

      The Astronut kids have also developed partnerships with educational organizations such as the Federation of Galaxy Explorers (essentially a US based, nation-wide after-school program focused on space exploration) which is in midst of absorbing membership from the now defunct Young Astronauts Council (which was created during the Reagon administration).

      A photo of Brett's grandfather Zygment Bielecki, working at Spar Aerospace on the CanadArm in the 1970's.
      "Brett is a lot like his grandfather with his fascination for exploration, space, engineering, gadgets and electronics" states Ray Bielecki. "It's extremely wonderful to have the chance to share this portion of his life with him and to do some good for others as well."

      The final  flight of the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for July 8th. The Astronut Kids Space Club is recruiting new members over the summer and expects to undertake it's next mission in the fall of 2011.

      Tuesday, June 21, 2011

      Two Years and More of Ongoing Policy Reviews

      As originally discussed in my June 29th, 2009 post "UK joins Canada and the US in "Not Knowing Quite What To Do" with their Space Program," it wasn't so long ago that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and even the United Kingdom based British National Space Centre (BNSC) had each embarked on substantive policy reviews of space focused infrastructure.
      British astronaut Timothy Peake.
      Of the three, only the UK review (which led directly to the formation of the UK Space Agency, which superseded the BNSC on April 1st, 2010) seems to have been successful.

      Although some (such as Marc Boucher at Spaceref.ca in his June 10th, 2011 article "Canadian Space Agency Moves Forward with Executing Next Space Plan") would argue that the recent infrastructure and title changes for senior management at the CSA (which are outlined in the annual CSA Reports on Plans and Priorities) are effectively beginning "the execution of the agency's next Long Term Space Plan" an updated long term space plan has simply not been publicly addressed, released or commented on since current CSA president Steve MacLean was appointed in 2008.

      The announced Federal government policy (which should supersede any departmental initiative) is to roll issues potentially raised by a revised Canadian long term space plan into several upcoming aerospace and commercialization reviews expected to be undertaken over the next eighteen months as outlined in my May 30th, 2011 post titled "Political Reviews Moving to the Forefront."

      Norm Augustine.
      As for the US policy review, the Augustine Committee final report (known formally as the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee) was released on October 22nd, 2009 and generated quite a bit of controversy, which has still not subsided. The conclusion that the US space program was on an "unsustainable trajectory" although widely accepted, does not seem to have led to any substantive changes at NASA and simply highlights the current agency political focus on safety and maintaining existing, but mostly obsolete infrastructure, contractor relationships and jobs.

      But the British, lacking an existing government infrastructure were left to focus on the private sector with policies designed to encourage economic growth, according to the UK Space Agency website.

      They came up with some good stuff, which is even available for review and comment here and includes a draft strategy focused on:
      1. Growth through new opportunities;
      2. Growth from export;
      3. Innovation supporting growth;
      4. Science to enable growth;
      5. Education for growth;
      6. Growth through smarter government.
      The UK Space agency is inviting public comments on this draft strategy before the consultation closes on 8 July 2011, when a final report will be issued.

      Even subject as it is to last minute revisions, this focus has allowed the UK Space Agency to cultivate a unique series of "breakthrough" space technologies including the Skylon unmanned space plane, on-orbit manufacturing programs, micro-satellite design and manufacturing (through UK based companies ClydeSpace and  Surrey Satellite Technology, which bills itself as an independent British company within EADS Astrium NV) plus a series of international trade missions to promote UK space activities.

      The success of the British approach is best typified by the May 25th, 2011 post on the UK Rocketeers blog under the title "Wow, What a Day" which comments on the seeming inability of NASA to cancel what was once known as the Constellation program.

      According to the article, "we (the UK) should express our deepest sympathies, and hope and trust that sense comes to prevail in the US space establishment. It would be rude and inconsiderate to our American cousins, not to mention thoroughly unBritish, simply to point and laugh."

      Let's hope that no one ends up pointing and laughing at the Canadian space establishment.

      Monday, June 20, 2011

      Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues!

      With the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and most of the rest of the country about ready to wind down for the summer (unofficially, of course), it's worth taking a look at some of the slowly percolating stories still being tracked:
      MDA CEO Daniel Friedmann.
        CSA DG Dave Kendall
      • Speaking of partnerships, some interesting people will be joining CSA Director General for Science and Technology Dave Kendall for interviews on Wednesday as part of the CSA's first Orbital Debris Workshop. The CSA is doing this as part of the Inter-Agency Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), which exchanges information on space debris research activities between members and which the CSA joined last year. According to this June 20th CSA media advisory, Kendal will be joined by Nicholas Johnson, the NASA chief scientist for orbital debris and Heiner Klinkrad, the European Space Agency (ESA) head of space debris office of the IADC Secretariat for media questions and interviews between 11am and lunch. I'm not expecting any big news to come out of here, but the meeting is indicative of the growing international cooperation and integration in this area.

      • According to this June 20th, 2011 press release on the NanoRacks website, the company has just announced "the completion of its first external round of equity capital welcoming ten new angel and venture investors from both the U.S. and Europe." Although no dollar amount was quoted in the press release, New York based investment bank Near Earth LLC was listed as the private placement agent. Since its formation in 2009, NanoRacks has developed, launched and now operates a commercial space research facility as part of the US National Lab on the International Space Station (ISS).
      ESA DG Jean-Jacques Dordain.
      • Speaking of talk, it's also worth noting this June 20th, 2011 blog post titled "Space Partnering Means More US Funded Space Work For Europe" which explicitly discusses that often unstated assumption surrounding international space cooperation. According to the author, partnership must derive tangible benefits for both sides and not just focus on improving intangibles like building relationships, increasing awareness or enhancing communications.
      Space-X CEO Elon Musk.
      • Speaking of nasty talk, a June 20th, 2011 post on the UK based Register website titled "Space-X goes to court as rocket wars begin" reports on what seems to have been a shakedown attempt by a consultant to win a lucrative contract with rocket company Space Exploration Technologies (Space-X). According to the article, Joseph Fragola (a VP with consulting firm Valador Information Architects) tried to obtain a hefty deal from SpaceX at the beginning of June by "contacting officials in the United States Government to make disparaging remarks about SpaceX, which have created the very "perception" that he claimed SpaceX needed his help to rectify." The Valador case follows recent and well publicized anti-Space-X articles by Loren Thompson, a well-known aerospace industry advocate who openly admits being partially funded by Space-X competitor Lockheed Martin.
        New AIAC President Jim Quick.
        • Speaking of positive communications, it's worth noting that Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) President Claude Lajeunesse has stepped down in favor of James Quick, according to the June 15th, 2011 press release "AIAC appoints new President and Chief Executive Officer" on the AIAC website. According to the press release, Mr. Quick has a background in "restructuring not-for-profit organizations" which will likely be useful to the AIAC over the next little while as it struggles with several upcoming aerospace and commercialization reviews instituted by the Federal government which are expected to be undertaken and completed over the next eighteen months. For a little more background on this, check out my May 30th, 2011 post titled "Political Reviews Moving to the Forefront." 
        • And speaking of history, a June 20th, 2011 article on the Parabolic Arc website reminds us that "Seven Years Ago, SpaceShipOne Rocketed into History" by making the first private suborbital spaceflight on June 21st, 2004. But the article also reminds us that, although the "daring flight helped to kick off a new industry, the new era of human spaceflight that it seemed to herald has receded ever further into the future, always seemingly 18 months away."

          Monday, June 13, 2011

          A "Gulliver's Travel's" Overview of Current US Space Policy Advocates

          It's worth noting that the beginnings of a substantive debate on US space policy is starting to percolate up through to the "mass media" and into official "publications of record."
          Robert Zubrin. Defining the US debate?
          Recent examples include the Wall Street Journal (where Mars Society advocate and author Robert Zubrin wrote the May 14th, 2011 editorial "How We Can Fly to Mars in This Decade—And on the Cheap") and the Washington Times (where Zubrin followed up with the May 24th, 2011 editorial "Zubrin: Treating Space Like the American West").

          Of course, the best debate is presently coming out of Fortune Magazine where Lexington Institute chief operating officer and Lockheed Martin consultant Loren Thompson is trading barbs and insults with Robert Block, the VP of corporate communications for Lockheed Martin competitor SpaceX in articles like the May 31st, 2011 "The Case Against Space-X, Part II" and the follow-on June 3rd, 2011 reply "SpaceX: Loren Thompson’s Deceit."

          The passion of the debate in Fortune is very reminiscent (and just as funny) as the passion exhibited by comedians Jane Curtain and Dan Ackroyd when discussing atomic power in this classic Weekend Update segment from Saturday Night Live.

          These debates seem to have resulted from confusion at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as to it's proper role now that the shuttle program is winding down.

          But the real policy discussions aren't coming from NASA (which is simply a government agency focused on implementing decisions made by others), the Obama administration, space scientists, the US Congress or even from space focused business experts.

          The real debate is coming from a series of space advocacy groups and online space focused news services where people who've already "drank the kool-aid" and "bought the t-shirt" are getting together to complain, disagree, debate, advocate, exchange information and eventually combine the evolving consensus into a useful, well though out series of talking points which is only then picked up by the traditional mass media.
          NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver. Until 1998, she was the Executive Director of the National Space Society, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization specializing in space advocacy.
          The process is perilously close to peer review and the end result has been far sturdier than anything any government agency, endowed university or private sector think-tank operating in a traditional manner has been able to generate.

          The best part is that most of these sites are open to the pubic and welcome input. They would include (but are certainly not limited to) the following sites:
          • 21st Century Waves - Argues strongly for a "new Apollo style space age in less than five years based on macroeconomic data and global trends." This site provides much of the essential philosophical underpinning for the other sites and their discussions.
          • Centauri Dreams - It's publisher is the Tau Zero Foundation, a private nonprofit (501c3) corporation, supported mainly through philanthropic donations to seek out and support astronomy and breakthrough space propulsion technologies. Anyone looking to build the USS Enterprise (the shuttle or the starship), needs to start here for the science (and then check out Atomic Rockets for the engineering).
            Ken Davidian.
            Rob McEwen (the Chairman of US Gold Corporation) with movie director James Cameron, Peter Diamandis (the CEO of the X-Prize Foundation), Elon Musk (the CEO of Space-X) and Jim Gianopulos (the CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment) in October 2010.
            George Whitesides.

            • The Secure World Foundation - A private, endowed foundation dedicated to maintaining the "secure and sustainable" use of space. The foundation also acts as funding organization and publisher for a variety of publications and news services including the Space Report, the Space Show with Dr. David Livingston and the Space Security Index.
            Jeff Foust.
            • The Space Review - Edited by Jeff Foust, a senior analyst for the Futron Corporation, who uses the site to develop research and as an indicator of expertise for his company. The site focuses on in-depth articles, essays, editorials and reviews on a wide range of space related topics. Foust also publishes smaller articles, breaking news and daily content on Spacetoday.net and space focused political stories on the Space Politics blog.
              Gulliver discovers Laputa (J.J. Grandville).
            • The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston - An online radio show focused on space commerce, tourism and other related subjects. According to Livingston, as quoted in the March 18th, 2005 Space.com article titled "The Space Show Prepares to Turn Four" the vision of the show is "for space to be like any other place we choose to visit, work in, or call home. It should be just another destination, like Tahiti, Hawaii, or any other location available to us now. When this vision becomes reality, we will be space-faring in our culture."
              All in all, it's a listing of people, organizations and websites worthy of Jonathon Swift and Gulliver's Travels, especially once you get to know them.

              And if you'd like to do that, it might be best to take a look at the list of upcoming space focused conferences, events and activities that are helpful in connecting the individuals and communities discussed in this article.

              It will certainly be interesting to see the consensus these online publications, associations and individuals build over the next few years and how they continue to influence NASA and international space policy.


              From: Bruce Cordell (21st Century Waves).

              Hi Chuck,

              Thanks for mentioning 21stCenturyWaves.com in your post.

              Editors Note: I'm still having trouble posting comments but if there is something you'd like to comment on, I'm posting comments manually so don't be shy. Send your questions, queries, concerns and comments to mr.chuck.black@gmail.com.

              Friday, June 10, 2011

              Federal Government Improperly Hoarding Patents

              The Canadian Press (CP) is reporting that "federal departments and agencies are hoarding hundreds of patents and copyrights each year, violating the federal government's long-standing rules on so-called intellectual property" and quotes two recent reports to bolster its case.
              Retired Auditor General Sheila Fraser.
              The June 4th, 2011 CP article "Federal departments improperly hoarding patents, copyrights: report" indicates that the initial red flags were raised in a 2009 report from then auditor general Sheila Fraser.

              This is likely referring to the 2009 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada, which was tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 12 May 2009. According to an April 19th, 2009 Office of the Auditor General of Canada press release, the second chapter of that report discussed:
              ... how intellectual property is managed in three federal science-based organizations—National Research Council Canada, Health Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

              The audit examined how adequately they manage intellectual property generated by their own employees and to what extent they comply with the federal policy governing intellectual property that arises under Crown procurement contracts; it also looked at the roles of Industry Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat in monitoring the application of the policy.
              Oddly enough, my October 10th, 2010 post "Overnight Success Plus IP Rights" focused on Toronto based CSA subcontractor Engineering Services Inc. (ESI) and discussed how unusual it was for a Canadian Space Agency (CSA) contractor to retain rights to intellectual property (IP) developed through CSA contracts.

              Now it looks like the official government policy is to encourage contractors to retain those rights and it's been that way for decades.

              Another view of IP.
              The formal policy is listed as part the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website on the Policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts page. The CSA is a component of Industry Canada but was not directly assessed in the Auditor General's report.

              Perhaps it should have been.

              After all, the Auditor General report points to ongoing and endemic problems across a wide area.

              These included problems with the the implementation, application, and monitoring of key policies to manage intellectual property including inaccurate reporting of IP ownership, lack of appropriate policies covering IP ownership, a lack of justification for crown ownership of IP and a lack of disclosure from crown departments relating to IP ownership.

              And a second evaluation, prepared for Industry Canada by Ottawa-based consultants TDV Global Inc. last winter, found that Canadian rules and regulations are still being widely ignored or violated by the federal bureaucracy.

              The December 2010 report found that few departments were even applying to the Treasury Board (as required for the exemptions) which would allow them to retain patents or copyrights. As well, only a very few had the proper and documented justifications in department files to account for their actions in doing so.
              Who controls the intellectual property for this device?
              However, the CP article provides no explanation as to why a report released in 2009 is only now being publicly re-examined and why independent consulting firm TDV was hired for the second assessment. Perhaps it's just that (up until now) there was simply nobody who had reason to energetically look for violations in this area by government departments.

              Whatever the reason, noncompliance policing in this area was probably not a high priority for either Industry Canada or the Treasury Board.

              Perhaps that will now change.

              Before the current rules came into effect in the late 1980's, federal government policy was to retain ownership of most inventions developed through government contracts under a Crown corporation known as Canadian Patents and Development Limited (CPDL), whether or not the IP was developed by public servants or independent contractors.

              The recent presentation below, from the MaRS Discovery District Entrepreneurship 101 sessions discusses the basics of Canadian IP law and how to approach IP in a strategic way.

              CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101 2009/10 - Week 17 - How to Protect and Commercialize Intellectual Property (IP) from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.

              Tuesday, June 07, 2011

              Lajeunesse vs. Nash: A Strong Potential for Conflict

              The political players are slowly lining up along the grand chessboard surrounding the upcoming reviews of the Canadian space systems industry.
              AIAC President Claude Lajeunesse in 2005.
              These reviews were last discussed in my May 30th, 2011 post "Political Reviews Moving to the Forefront" and now the players are finally surfacing.

              Oddly enough, it looks like at least two of the potential players are of strongly differing perceptions, with major past differences of opinion and a strong future potential for conflict.

              One even came out strongly against allowing BC based MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) to be sold to US based Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in 2008 while the other seems just as intent about sitting on the fence (unless it comes to supporting F35 procurements).

              It will be interesting to see which one ends up with the lasting legacy.

              Our story begins with the June 6th, 2011 SpaceRef.ca article "No Change for Space as Federal Government Releases Budget," which covers the Federal budget tabled yesterday and includes a provision for the government to conduct "a comprehensive review of all policies and programs related to the aerospace/ space industry to develop a federal policy framework to maximize the competitiveness of this export-oriented sector and the resulting benefits to Canadians."

              This was expected, but the announcement that the review will also be conducted through a consultative process involving the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and coordinated with the ongoing Review of Federal Support for Research and Development (which is the second of the three reviews related to the aerospace industry discussed in my earlier post) does come as a slight surprise.

              Officially, this puts a great deal of focus on AIAC President Claude Lajeunesse, who has suddenly been given a great deal of power over at least two of the three legs of the process. It's also curious to note that the third leg of the policy review, which is focused on defense policy, also seems to be the main focus of recent AIAC press releases as listed on the AIAC website.

              But with previous stints as president and vice chancellor of Ryerson University, CEO of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and president and vice-chancellor of Concordia University, Lajeunese would seem well suited to his assigned consultative role in the overall review of science, technology and commercialization issues.

              Of course, that would only be a part of the story.

              To give an idea of his main focus on civil aviation, military procurement and the F35 fighter, here is Lajeunese speaking at the AIAC 2010 AGM

              Lajeunesse has also been accused of encouraging the creeping "corporatization" of the universities he has headed for his emphasis of part-time labor (as per the April 16, 2007 Montreal Gazette article "Concordia Incorporated") and union busting activities (as outlined in the March/ April 2007 Adjunctnation article "Concordia University Union Protests Against $35,000 Stipend"). He also came under fire at both Ryerson and Concordia for pay raises for himself and his immediate entourage.

              As for comments and policies relating to the space industry, Lajeunesse has generally been supportive but noncommittal, as per the May 10th, 2008 Montreal Gazette story "MDA gets contract after Aliant deal blocked again" where he makes wholesome, generalized statements supporting new programs but offering up very few specifics.

              All of which puts him completely at odds with Peggy Nash, the official opposition's new finance critic. In 2008, according to her Wikipedia entry:
              Finance critic Peggy Nash.
              As a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology — Nash was instrumental in stopping the acquisition of MacDonald Dettwiler by U.S.-owned Alliant Techsystems, the Canadian space company which produced the Canadarm and RADARSAT-2 satellite, critical to the issue of Canadian Arctic sovereignty. Nash argued that the sale would have devastated the Canadian aerospace industry and eliminated Canadian control over a technology developed with the aid of millions of Canadian taxpayers' dollars.
              Nash is also a union organizer and a politician, which also puts her at odds with Lajeunesse, who has never run for public office.

              And while Lajeunesse seems well placed at present, it's worth remembering that Nash is directly responsible for the the current state of the space systems sector in Canada and seems to have had a more lasting legacy than Lajeunesse has so far been able to create.

              But now someone needs to finish the job she started.

              Below is a question Nash placed before the House of Commons in 2008. Based on her phrasing, I'm guessing that she's not in favor of the F35 program either.

              Monday, June 06, 2011

              Canadian Team Wins Lunabotics Challenge

              The National Aeronautics and Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lunar Science Institute has awarded the 2011 Lunabotics Challenge to a team from Laurentian University according to this May 31st press release on the NASA Lunar Science Institute website.
              Lunabotics winners Samuel Carriere, Patrick Chartrand, Stephane Chiasson, Myles Chisholm, Drew Dewit, Greg Lakanen, Jeffrey Pagnutti, and Jean-Sebastien Sonier
              According to the press release:
              A team of eight mechanical engineering students from Laurentian University won the international NASA Lunabotics competition in Florida on May 28th. The team took home a check for $5000 for finishing in first-place and excavating a world record 237.4kg of synthetic moon material in 15 minutes. They beat 40 other university teams from around the world. 
              According to the NASA Lunabotics mining competition website, the event:
              ... is for students to design and build a remote controlled or autonomous excavator, called a lunabot, that can collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of lunar simulant within 15 minutes. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the lunar simulant, the weight and size limitations of the lunabot, and the ability to control the lunabot from a remote control center.
              Winners in other competition categories were:
              • On-Site Mining Award Winners: University of North Dakota and West Virginia University
              • Judges Innovation Design Award: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.
              • Arizona Communications Efficiency Award: Laurentian University
              • Team Spirit Award: University of Alabama
              • Slide Presentation Award: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
              • Outreach Project Award: Montana Tech, University of Montana
              • Systems Engineering Paper Award: John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.
              This was the first year the NASA Lunabotics event was opened to international competitors and while Montreal’s McGill University was the only other Canadian team, teams from Bangladesh, India and Columbia also participated.

              Canada has a history in mining and resource gathering in the lunar environment as shown in the video below.

              NASA reps visit Sudbury to test Moon mining... by NOBnews

              Support our Patreon Page