Longueuil, Quebec, December 2, 2003 – The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is driving the design of leading space technologies through the investment of $65 million in contracts awarded to Canadian industry. The contracts announced today by Jacques Saada, Member of Parliament for Brossard-La Prairie, on behalf of Allan Rock, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, were made before industry representatives gathered at CSA Headquarters for its annual Technology Days conference.

“The Canadian Space Agency’s investment in leading-edge space research and development increases Canadian knowledge and specialized expertise, and reinforces Canada’s position in the global knowledge-based economy,” said Mr. Saada. “These investments will drive breakthroughs in emerging technologies, strengthen our space industry and enhance Canada’s ability to draw talent and investment from abroad.”

Forty contracts valued at $17.4 million in total were awarded through the CSA’s Space Technology Development Program (STDP). Companies will develop innovative space technologies ranging from satellite equipment to space robotics.

Eleven companies also signed deals worth $47.6 million in total with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop innovative space technologies for their Earth Observation, Communications, Space Exploration, and Generic Technologies programs. These programs are financially supported by Canada through the CSA-ESA collaboration program.

“The projects announced today will help Canada remain at the forefront of niche space markets related to telecommunications, radar sensors and robotics,” said CSA President Marc Garneau. “They also demonstrate that our longstanding co-operation with Europe continues to generate substantial economic and scientific benefits to both sides of the Atlantic, while strengthening the bonds between our space agencies.”

For a list of companies signing contracts, please consult the attached backgrounder.

About the Space Technology Development Program (STDP)

The Canadian Space Agency’s Space Technology Development Program (STDP) promotes the design and development of innovative technologies in Canada to maintain our nation’s position as leader in space technology. The technologies supported by this Program take full advantage of the capabilities of the Canadian space industry and are strongly linked with the future needs of the Canadian Space Program.

About Canada and ESA

The European Space Agency is composed of 15 Member States. Canada is a Cooperating Member and the only non-European country to participate directly in Earth Observation, telecommunications, global positioning and navigation, exploration and technology development programs of ESA. Under the terms of the Canada-ESA Cooperation Agreement, CSA’s contributions to ESA programs are returned in the form of contracts to Canadian industry. 2004 will mark the 25th anniversary of Canada-ESA collaboration.

About the CSA

Established in 1989 with its Headquarters situated in Longueuil, Quebec, the CSA is responsible for leading the national space program. The CSA coordinates programs supporting Earth and the Environment, Space Science, Human Presence in Space, Satellite Communications, Space Technology, Space Qualification Services, Space Awareness and Education. The CSA is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

For more information, please contact:

Monique Billette
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: monique.billette@space.gc.ca