Canada's Fifty Years in Space - by Gordon Shepherd and Agnes Kruchio

From The Space Library

Jump to: navigation, search
Have you ever wondered what Canadians have done in space science? In this book you will find out how hundreds of Canada's best and brightest have contributed to your everyday life in ways most people can't imagine. Thanks to fifty years of effort by these scientists and engineers your life has been improving and is constantly being made safer. International space science began suddenly with the creation of COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) in October, 1958, and its first plenary meeting was held in London, in November the same year. Canada was at the table for both the creation and the first plenary meeting. Canada's Fifty Years in Space describes the parallel growth of the Canadian space science program from that date up to the 50th Anniversary of COSPAR, to be celebrated in Montreal in July, 2008. This work relates the history of ground-based activity that placed Canada at the forefront of nations with knowledge of space in 1958, gained primarily through observations of the aurora borealis by optical and radar methods. By the time of the International Geophysical Year, 1957-58, Canada was well established in this research and had built its own rocket payloads. During the sixties this activity increased tenfold with the inception of the Alouette/ISIS satellite missions in 1962, and a vigorous rocket program conducted at Fort Churchill and elsewhere. After the last Defence Research Board satellite, ISIS-II, was launched in 1971 the program changed direction; the National Research Council maintained the rocket program at a lower level and space opened up for Canadian instruments on international spacecraft leading to some highly successful missions. Long overdue, the Canadian Space Agency was established in 1989 and is now leading a more mature program including Canada's first scientific mission since ISIS-II (SCISAT-1), the Earth-observing Radarsat-1 and a strong astronaut program. The final achievement of the fifty years is a Canadian-built lidar that is part of the NASA Phoenix mission and is on its way to Mars, destined to land there in May, 2008. This work is about these missions over the fifty years, but also about the people who built them, launched them, captured the data and published the scientific results.