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Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
  Since its creation in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has been promoting Canada's utilization and exploration of space; developing space assets, applications and services; and enabling space capacity; while meeting the nation's strategic priorities and growing need for scientific knowledge, innovation and information. With an annual budget of just over $300M the CSA has the mandate of Promoting the peaceful use and development of space; Advancing the knowledge of space through science; and, Ensuring that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians


Headquarters: John H. Chapman Space Center based in Longueuil, Québec, Canada

Core Programs:

Space Utilization, Space Exploration, Space Science and Technology

Orbital Debris Activities

The Canadian Space Agency has established an internal Orbital Debris Working Group to facilitate the exchange of information and to provide the required expertise in support of its membership and role in the IADC and its Working Groups. The mandate of the Orbital Debris Working Group is to enhance internal communications within the CSA with other departments of the Canadian Government, with the Canadian Space Community and with our international partners such as IADC, sharing technical information and know-how in the area of Orbital Space Debris and the development of CSA's Technology roadmap on Orbital Debris.
Based on the recommendations of IADC members to further foster Orbital Debris awareness and activity at the national level, CSA organizes national events including the biennial Orbital Debris Workshop. The workshop aims is to inform and consult with Canadians interested in the subject of Orbital Debris and is addressed to all stakeholders (industry, university, research organizations and other government departments) active or interested in the subject of human-generated Orbital Debris. Further details can be obtained at: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/events/2011/debris.asp

In the field of space debris, the CSA activities cover 4 main areas: monitoring and measurements; mitigation measures; protection; regulation and, international cooperation.

Monitoring and measurements

CSA has witnessed an increasing number of collision threats to Canadian space assets (Radarsat-1, Radarsat-2, Scisat-1 and MOST), necessitating spacecraft debris collision avoidance maneuvers. Furthermore there is recent evidence of debris impact on the mobile base of the Mobile Servicing System, Canada's contribution to the International Space Station, as well on the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm2) itself. CSA therefore recognizes the importance of sharing timely information on spacecraft conjunction assessments based on precise trajectory data and modeling capability. In this regard, in 2012 Canada will launch its Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) spacecraft. Once commissioned, this satellite will provide operational data to the US Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) by using its High Earth Orbit Space Surveillance Sensor (HEOSS). The purpose of this component is to demonstrate how microsatellites can contribute to the Space Surveillance Network (SSN).
In addition, 2012 will also see the launch of the Department of National Defence's satellite Sapphire. Sapphire has a space-based optical sensor that will provide observations of high-earth orbit MEO & GEO spacecraft & debris objects (>30cm diameter) at an altitude of between 6,000km and 40,000km. The Sapphire sensor will also contribute to the SSN.
The launch of these two satellites in 2012 will equally contribute to the activities of IADC Debris Measurement Working Group.

Mitigation measures

Due to the potential impact on its space assets, the CSA has further established a detailed procedure to facilitate a timely and systematic response to close approach alerts. Probabilistic avoidance manoeuvre criteria have been established creating a virtual "collision avoidance" box. Although close approach alerts are all unique and require special attention, the procedure significantly facilitates the decision-making process. By combining the data received from various sources, the CSA is improving its early warning system in support of its spacecraft operations.

Because of the acquired expertise in operational space robotics, the CSA, the Canadian scientific community and the Canadian space industry are in a strong position to contribute to potential future Orbital Debris Removal efforts involving robotics. This expertise was acquired over the years through a number of missions: ISS Mobile Servicing System, DoD XSS-11 rendez-vous (2005), DARPA Orbital Express satellite capture and servicing (2007), CSA Next Generation Canadarm (NGC), NASA-CSA refuelling experiment on ISS (2011).
The Canadian expertise in operational space robotics can contribute to the IADC Debris Mitigation Working Group.


Recent CSA-Space Science & Technology initiatives have given Canada a lead position in the development and commissioning of an implosion-driven Hyper-Velocity Impact (HVI) test facility, providing a unique capability to accelerate masses to debris velocities allowing full impact regimes to be investigated. In addition, the Government of the Province of New Brunswick (NB) contributed to the development of a 2-stage Light Gas Gun currently housed at the facilities of University of New Brunswick and Hypervelocity Impact Technology Dynamics Ltd. (HITD) in Fredericton, NB. This facility has the capability of accelerating objects of up to 100g to speeds of up to 10 km/s, with precise and repeatable control of the speed.
These initiatives can also contribute to the IADC Protection Working Group.

Regulation & International cooperation

CSA, in conjunction with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), strongly supports UN COPUOS in relation to the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and to the Working Group on the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.
The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) has invested several years of work to develop the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines. This set of Guidelines have been adopted by 67 member States in June 2007, and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 62/217. As a Member State of COPUOS, Canada regularly reports on its research activities related to space debris; the safety of space objects with Nuclear Power Sources (NPS) on board; and, problems relating to the collision of such space objects with space debris.
Within COPUOS, Canada through the CSA and DFAIT are contributing to the "Long Term Sustainability of Space Activities" a multilateral initiative addressing space safety issues.

The Canadian Space Agency recognizes the importance of Orbital Debris and is determined to play an active role in the international coordination of space debris activities, leveraging on IADC accomplishments in terms of debris monitoring through its Debris Measurement Working Group and by contributing to the Environment & Data-base, Protection and Mitigation Working Groups.