Ottawa, Canada

Canadian Space Agency
Ottawa, Canada

The Canadian Space Agency ) was established by the Canadian Space Agency Act which received Royal Assent on May 10, 1990. The president of the agency is Walter Natynczyk who reports to the Minister of Industry. He was appointed as president on August 6, 2013.The headquarters of the CSA is located at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. The agency also has offices in Ottawa, Ontario, at the David Florida Laboratory , and small liaison offices in Washington, D.C.; Paris; Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Houston, Texas. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 12, 2017

Mission Control Space Services, a young company in Ottawa focused on space technology development, is excited to announce Mission Control Academy. MCA challenges participants to design and operate a planetary exploration mission, culminating in an opportunity to remotely drive a real rover prototype in a Mars-like environment. The mission scenario asks participants to assume realistic roles in a mission to Mars. Working together on a high-stakes space mission highlights important interdisciplinary communication and teamwork skills in an incomparable learning environment. Furthermore, teams have the opportunity to learn from professional scientists and engineers who have worked on NASA and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) missions. From elementary school students, all the way to professionals in the space industry, Mission Control Academy has refined curriculum versions that can cater to any participant group. MCA offers a unique learning experience and showcases Canadian expertise in space exploration, including past demonstrations in the CSA Mars Yard. This year, Mission Control Academy has four deployments all around the world, from Israel to Ireland to South Africa, but fortunately for Ottawa residents, it will also be held in our own backyard. Mission Control Space Services, the company behind the program, is partnering up with Ashbury College to hold a week-long summer day camp July 10-14th, 2017 for students aged 11-16. The program is open for students all over the city, and includes interactive activities and workshops, culminating with a simulated planetary mission using rover prototype. Growing the number of Canadians equipped with STEM, coding and digital skills is a priority in the federal government’s plan for strengthening the middle class, and that starts with getting students inspired and excited at a young age. To participate in the program, please visit Ashbury College Summer Programs webpage: To learn more about Mission Control Academy, visit

The James Webb Space Telescope, which is reported to be the most advanced telescope to be put into space ever, is entering its final stage of testing on Earth. The telescope is a joint venture between the NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. The world's most advanced space observatory will not replace the Hubble Space Telescope, but will be more like its scientific successor as their capabilities are not identical, according to Nasa.

News Article | May 2, 2017

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully passed the center of curvature test, an important optical measurement of Webb’s fully assembled primary mirror prior to cryogenic testing, and the last test held at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., before the spacecraft is shipped to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for more testing. After undergoing rigorous environmental tests simulating the stresses of its rocket launch, the Webb telescope team at Goddard analyzed the results from this critical optical test and compared it to the pre-test measurements. The team concluded that the mirrors passed the test with the optical system unscathed. “The Webb telescope is about to embark on its next step in reaching the stars as it has successfully completed its integration and testing at Goddard. It has taken a tremendous team of talented individuals to get to this point from all across NASA, our industry and international partners, and academia,” says Bill Ochs, NASA’s Webb telescope project manager. “It is also a sad time as we say goodbye to the Webb Telescope at Goddard, but are excited to begin cryogenic testing at Johnson.” Rocket launches create high levels of vibration and noise that rattle spacecraft and telescopes. At Goddard, engineers tested the Webb telescope in vibration and acoustics test facilities that simulate the launch environment to ensure that functionality is not impaired by the rigorous ride on a rocket into space. Before and after these environmental tests took place, optical engineers set up an interferometer, the main device used to measure the shape of the Webb telescope’s mirror. An interferometer gets its name from the process of recording and measuring the ripple patterns that result when different beams of light mix and their waves combine or “interfere.” Waves of visible light are less than a thousandth of a millimeter long and optics on the Webb telescope need to be shaped and aligned even more accurately than that to work correctly. Making measurements of the mirror shape and position by lasers prevents physical contact and damage (scratches to the mirror). So, scientists use wavelengths of light to make tiny measurements. By measuring light reflected off the optics using an interferometer, they are able to measure extremely small changes in shape or position that may occur after exposing the mirror to a simulated launch or temperatures that simulate the subfreezing environment of space. During a test conducted by a team from Goddard, Ball Aerospace of Boulder, Colo., and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, temperature and humidity conditions in the cleanroom were kept incredibly stable to minimize fluctuations in the sensitive optical measurements over time. Even so, tiny vibrations are ever-present in the cleanroom that cause jitter during measurements, so the interferometer is a “high-speed” one, taking 5,000 “frames” every second, which is a faster rate than the background vibrations themselves. This allows engineers to subtract out jitter and get good, clean results on any changes to the mirror's shape. “Some people thought it would not be possible to measure beryllium mirrors of this size and complexity in a cleanroom to these levels but the team was incredibly ingenious in how they performed these measurements and the results give us great confidence we have a fantastic primary mirror,” says Lee Feinberg, Webb’s telescope optical element manager. The Webb telescope will be shipped to Johnson for end-to-end optical testing in a vacuum at its extremely cold operating temperatures. Then it will continue on its journey to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, Calif., for final assembly and testing prior to launch in 2018. The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s most advanced space observatory. This engineering marvel is designed to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, from discovering the first stars and galaxies that formed after the big bang to studying the atmospheres of planets around other stars. It is a joint project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), and the Canadian Space Agency, and was assembled in a Class 10,000 cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - May 04, 2017) - After collecting over 4.3 million Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) messages from aircraft since it launched in September 2016, the 3.5 kilogram 10x10x34cm CanX-7 nanosatellite deployed its four drag sails yesterday evening. CanX-7 was built by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). Each drag sail has an area of approximately one square meter. The sails are intended to decrease the ballistic coefficient of the satellite and use atmospheric drag to accelerate orbital decay. The drag sail technology is important for nano- and microsatellites whose low Earth orbital presence would exceed the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) guidelines that limit such presence to 25 years after end of mission. "With SFL's innovative drag sail technology verified on orbit, the door is opened to using this technology on future missions where compliance to IADC guidelines would not otherwise be possible," says Robert Zee, Director of SFL. "Such compliance is essential to ensuring that space debris is mitigated for the world. It is also a critical component in satisfying regulatory bodies so that small satellite missions may proceed uninhibited." CanX-7 completed a seven-month campaign to collect ADS-B messages from aircraft to demonstrate Canada's first ADS-B data collection from space. With that phase of the mission successfully completed, the drag sails were deployed to begin the second phase of the mission. The sequential phases were intended to emulate an operational mission followed by deorbiting. A key component in the drag sail technology demonstration was long-term stowage of the drag sail modules in space without interrupting or affecting the operational mission. "We want our drag sail technology to be compact and non-intrusive to a satellite's main mission. This will ensure wide acceptance and easy adoption by future microsatellite missions," says Zee. "The four drag sails were deployed across the two passes this evening (two sails per pass)," reported Brad Cotten, CanX-7 Project Manager on May 3. "All telemetry is nominal and indicates that each sail is fully deployed. The deployment was also confirmed optically from the ground." During this final phase of the CanX-7 mission, the deorbiting process will be closely monitored via the SFL ground station in Toronto. Orbital decay rate will be determined and compared against pre-launch simulation results. "We are thankful to our sponsors that helped make this mission successful for the benefit of Canada and the world, including Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, COM DEV, Royal Military College of Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency," said Zee. SFL builds big performance into smaller, lower cost satellites. Small satellites built by SFL consistently push the performance envelope and disrupt the traditional cost paradigm. Satellites are built with advanced power systems, stringent attitude control and high-volume data capacity that are striking relative to the budget. SFL arranges launches globally and maintains a mission control center accessing ground stations worldwide. The pioneering and barrier breaking work of SFL is a key enabler to tomorrow's cost aggressive satellite constellations.

News Article | April 24, 2017

Canada is getting closer to naming its next two astronauts, who should be officially selected later this year. On Monday, Minister for Innovation Navdeep Bains and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen got together in Toronto to announce the final 17 candidates who'll be competing for those two spots, and hopefully will blast off into space in the coming years. Candidates at the announcement. Image: Lisa CummingFive of the 17 are women, good news for those who've been hoping to see more female space travellers. Both active astronauts—Hansen and David Saint-Jacques, who is headed to space in 2018—are male. The last female Canadian to fly in space was Julie Payette, in 2009. Hansen said diversity among astronauts is important. "Canada's core is small. There are two of us right now, and we're going to be four," he told Motherboard in an interview. "It's really important that we have those role models," Hansen continued. "And I'm delighted to see we have such shining examples of women in the running." Astronaut finalist Nathalie Sleno, a medical officer based in in Yellowknife, always knew she wanted adventure, she told me at the announcement. When the opportunity to become an astronaut presented itself, she said, she couldn't let it slip by. "I grew up wanting a life that was full of challenges," she said. "I love science, and from the very beginning I was always looking to the stars for one reason or another." Sleno participates in aptitude tests. Image: Canadian Space AgencyHer passion for science took her through a variety of disciplines: flying, teaching, military and medicine. Of the application process, Sleno said she's been focused on trying to live normally and waiting to hear back to see if she'd made it to the next level. "It's been a very long process," she said. "One of the phases, simply put, was very intense physically, very intense mentally." Read more: What It's Like to Be in the Running to Be an Astronaut "When I started out the journey I didn't know I would make it this far," she said. Another finalist, Vanessa Fulford, who is a flight test engineer in Cold Lake, Alberta, said her army background prepared her for the gruelling physical testing. But some of the exercises, like exiting an upside-down helicopter, were outside of what she had had to do before. "I just decided I was going to be awesome at it," she said.Vanessa Fulford participates in testing. Image: Canadian Space Agency As of now, the International Space Station is set to run at least through to the year 2024. When I asked Sleno where in space she might go if she is selected—whether it's to Mars or the Moon or somewhere else—she said that it's hard to say for sure, because of all the changes expected as the commercialization of space travel continues to take hold in a big way. "It's a very exciting time for space exploration," she said, referring to private space flights. Right now, SpaceX is working on having the capability to take astronauts to the ISS, and wealthy tourists around the Moon. Hansen said he's very excited about the move towards commercializing space travel. "What's really important is that the cost (of space travel) is going down," Hansen said. And that means more people could be travelling to space in coming years. As for Fulford, her dream mission is to go to Mars. "To be able to make those first discoveries, first footprints, have that new technology, would just be an incredible adventure." Subscribe to Science Solved It, Motherboard's new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.

Visually guided robotic capturing of a moving object often requires long-term prediction of the object motion not only for a smooth capture but because visual feedback may not be continually available, e.g., due to vision obstruction by the robotic arm, as well. This paper presents a combined prediction and motion-planning scheme for robotic capturing of a drifting and tumbling object with unknown dynamics using visual feedback. A Kalman filter estimates the states and a set of dynamics parameters of the object needed for long-term prediction of the motion from noisy measurements of a vision system. Subsequently, the estimated states, parameters, and predicted motion trajectories are used to plan the trajectory of the robots end-effector to intercept a grapple fixture on the object with zero relative velocity (to avoid impact) in an optimal way. The optimal trajectory minimizes a cost function, which is a weighted linear sum of travel time, distance, cosine of a line-of-sight angle (object alignment for robotic grasping), and a penalty function acting as a constraint on acceleration magnitude. Experiments are presented to demonstrate the robot-motion planning scheme for autonomous grasping of a tumbling satellite. Two robotics manipulators are employed: One arm drifts and tumbles the mockup of a satellite, and the other arm that is equipped with a robotic hand tries to capture a grapple fixture on the satellite using the visual guidance system. © 2012 IEEE.

Chen G.,Canadian Space Agency | Qian S.-E.,Canadian Space Agency
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2011

In this paper, a new denoising method is proposed for hyperspectral data cubes that already have a reasonably good signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) (such as 600:1). Given this level of the SNR, the noise level of the data cubes is relatively low. The conventional image denoising methods are likely to remove the fine features of the data cubes during the denoising process. We propose to decorrelate the image information of hyperspectral data cubes from the noise by using principal component analysis (PCA) and removing the noise in the low-energy PCA output channels. The first PCA output channels contain a majority of the total energy of a data cube, and the rest PCA output channels contain a small amount of energy. It is believed that the low-energy channels also contain a large amount of noise. Removing noise in the low-energy PCA output channels will not harm the fine features of the data cubes. A 2-D bivariate wavelet thresholding method is used to remove the noise for low-energy PCA channels, and a 1-D dual-tree complex wavelet transform denoising method is used to remove the noise of the spectrum of each pixel of the data cube. Experimental results demonstrated that the proposed denoising method produces better denoising results than other denoising methods published in the literature. © 2006 IEEE.

Aghili F.,Canadian Space Agency
IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics | Year: 2013

The problem of self-tuning control of cooperative manipulators forming closed kinematic chain in the presence of inaccurate kinematics model is addressed in this paper. The kinematic parameters pertaining to the relative position/orientation uncertainties of the interconnected manipulators are updated online by two cascaded estimators in order to tune a cooperative controller for achieving accurate motion tracking with minimum-norm actuation force. This technique permits accurate calibration of the relative kinematics of the involved manipulators without needing high precision end-point sensing or force measurements, and hence, it is economically justified. Investigating the stability of the entire real-time estimator/controller system reveals that the convergence and stability of the adaptive control process can be ensured if 1) the direction of angular velocity vector does not remain constant over time, and 2) the initial kinematic parameter error is upper bounded by a scaler function of some known parameters. The adaptive controller is proved to be singularity-free even though the control law involves inverting the approximation of a matrix computed at the estimated parameters. Experimental results demonstrate the sensitivity of the tracking performance of the conventional inverse dynamic control scheme to kinematic inaccuracies, while the tracking error is significantly reduced by the self-tuning cooperative controller. © 1996-2012 IEEE.

A method and system for creating a high spatial resolution image from a multidimensional imagery is disclosed. The technique exploits an intrinsic spatial distortion of the sensor that acquired the imagery and uses it as additional information to increase spatial resolution of the imagery. The method comprises obtaining a baseline image from the multidimensional imagery; deriving nm1 sub-pixel shifted images from the multidimensional imagery, where n and m are spatial resolution increase factors in x and y directions respectively, integers and greater than 1; organizing the baseline image and the nm1 sub-pixel shifted images from the multidimensional imagery; fusing the organized images using iterative back projection (IBP) to generate a high resolution image; and outputting the generated high resolution image.

Aghili F.,Canadian Space Agency
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2011

Fault tolerance is critical for servomotors used in high-risk applications, such as aerospace, robots, and military. These motors should be capable of continued functional operation, even if insulation failure or open-circuit of a winding occur. This paper presents a fault-tolerant (FT) torque controller for brushless dc (BLdc) motors that can maintain accurate torque production with minimum power dissipation, even if one of its phases fails. The distinct feature of the FT controller is that it is applicable to BLdc motors with any back-electromotive-force waveform. First, an observer estimates the phase voltages from a model based on Fourier coefficients of the motor waveform. The faulty phases are detected from the covariance of the estimation error. Subsequently, the phase currents of the remaining phases are optimally reshaped so that the motor accurately generates torque as requested while minimizing power loss subject to maximum current limitation of the current amplifiers. Experimental results illustrate the capability of the FT controller to achieve ripple-free torque performance during a phase failure at the expenses of increasing the mean and maximum power loss by 28% and 68% and decreasing the maximum motor torque by 49%. © 2006 IEEE.

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