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Tuesday, February 2 • 15:15 - 15:35
Towards a Canadian Spacecraft Nation: Applying Lessons from Silicon Valley and NASA to Expand Canadian Small Satellite Capabilities

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Small satellites are a field where Canada has long held a leadership role - with successful missions like MOST and successful institutions for flight project development and training like UTIAS - and yet this leadership role is increasingly in question as Silicon Valley space companies and NASA both embrace small satellites as areas for major new investment and development. The paper will set out, based on the personal experience of the author working at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley on small satellite projects and at NASA Headquarters in areas related to national space policy, lessons learned from recent US business and programmatic innovations that could be applied in Canada and contribute to a Canadian small satellite renaissance.

The paper will describe the evolving landscape of the US small satellite sector based on the work of NASA’s Emerging Space Office which monitors and evaluates private sector space initiatives on behalf of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist. In particular, attention will be paid to the recent wave of small satellite company formation and investment in Silicon Valley, as well as the business models, NASA activities, and overall Silicon Valley culture that have made these new companies and investments possible. Observations will be made regarding the aspects of this business environment that may be replicable and applicable in a Canadian context.

The paper will also describe the role of national space policy in supporting the growing democratization of access to space via small satellite technologies. Particular emphasis will be given to the lessons learned from NASA’s ’50 Spacecraft from 50 States’ cubesat launch initiative which was established by the author in coordination with the Advanced Exploration Systems Division of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and which was announced at the inaugural White House Maker Faire in 2014. This initiative could serve as a model for a similar effort in Canada and observations will be made regarding the potential opportunities and challenges of conducting such an initiative in Canada.


Moderators
avatar for Eva-Jane LARK

Eva-Jane LARK

Vice-President, BMO Nesbitt Burns
Eva-Jane Lark is a Vice-President and Wealth Advisor with BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of Canada's largest full-service investment firms. For over 25 years, she has provided expert advice to her clients on a wide variety of investment and wealth management issues. | | Since reviving her childhood passion for seeing humanity live and thrive beyond Earth, Eva has researched the state of the space industry, presenting papers at space conferences... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Alexander MacDonald

Alexander MacDonald

Senior Economic Advisor, Office of the Administrator, NASA
Alex MacDonald is the Program Executive for Emerging Space within the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters. He is recognized as an expert on the economic history of American space exploration and contemporary private-sector space activities. He is the founding program executive of NASA's Emerging Space Office which was established to conduct economic analysis on emerging commercial space companies. He is also an Executive Staff... Read More →



Tuesday February 2, 2016 15:15 - 15:35
Champagne Ballroom 45 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1W2

Attendees (18)