Why David Saint-Jack could be Canada's last astronaut

Canada is staring in a black hole when it comes to the future of its outer space exploration, and if nothing changes, David Saint-Jack could be the latest Canadian astronaut to leave earth.

The country was without a formal site design since 1999 and the Canadian space agency (CSA) has faced budget cuts and stagnation for just how long, researchers and industry experts say. Even with NASA requiring Canada to construct a new robotic arm for its next space station project, Lunar Gateway, the federal government has yet to work on any future projects.

And for Canada, which does not have its own rockets, these types of combines are the only way for it to secure spots for its astronauts to travel to other countries' spaces, said Gordon Oskinsky, a Western university professor and Canada Research Chair in Earth and Space Exploration.

Watch: Meet the 10 Canadians that have been in place. History continues after video.

"If we do not have that ticket for the moon, not just do not have the industrial investments and jobs, we will not have a current way of reaching for astronauts," Oskinsky said. "No more Canadian astronomy will be a bit of a shock to the Canadian system."

The CSA tells HuffPost The federal government recognizes the need to lay out a long-term vision for space moving forward and is committed to keeping Canada's undergoing activity in the evolving industry. "

"Canada was a global leader in robotics for the decade, and is a recognized craft in artificial intelligence," CSA spokesman Mary-Andor Malouin said. "We see the two sources of national expertise and pride come together to give human exploitation of deep space: the future robots of the future will have to work with minimal humanitarian aid, using artificial intelligence to make decisions."

But if Canada wants to be competitive, it must invest in its industry industries more than it does now, experts say.

Miseded opportunity

From the G8 countries, Canada spent the least amount on its site program and the second lowest per capita, according to a 2017 report from the University of British Columbia (UBC). It provides about $ 16 million a year to explore missions and technology, and about $ 250 million in base funding for its placement agency – $ 50 million less than in 1999.

It's a missed opportunity, said the UCC report. Canada is a world leader in the aerospace industry, and each $ 1 billion invested in space innovation generates an additional $ 1.2 billion in economic activity. The Canadian Space Sector's annual revenue is more than $ 5 billion mostly from satellite operations and services and it employs about 25,000 Canadians. The UBC researchers recommended a $ 1 billion investment in a structured site program over the next 10 years.


This illustration provided by NASA depicts the Osiris-Rex spacecraft, equipped with a Canadian laser scanning system, at the asteroid Benno.

The global space and satellite markets are waiting to grow from $ 350 billion now to US $ 20 million, said Ryan Anderson, President and CEO of the Satellite Canada Innovation Network, a non-profit organization that drives growth for Canada & Industry's industry. The network is also a member of a 60-part coalition called Do Not Let Canada Go, which raises public awareness and lobbies to the federal government to increase the budget area in 2019.

"As other nations have been increasing their investments and new nations entering the sector, Canada is rapidly losing ground," Anderson said. "The coalition is formed to raise public awareness of the situation and the implications of not rivaling the trend."

Public support

It is possible to support Canada location. A petition to the House of Commons to develop a space strategy and increase funding is signed by more than 3,500 people.

An evaluation of September found that 84 percent of Canadians are pleased to develop the country's sector, and the majority said that it would be a good idea to increase investment in satellite communications, space science, space robotics and international space missions, Ipsos. It surveyed 1,602 Canadian over the phone in June, which was a margin of error of 2.45 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Between now and February, Canada will sign a lot of innovation achievements, OskinskySaid "Bittersweet" because they stem from earlier compromises, not matched for the last decade.

Valery Sharifulin / Getty Images

Canadian Space Agency Astronut David Saint-Jack before launching the International Space Station at the Baikonur Cosmrome in Kazakhstan on December 3, 2018.

On Monday, the same day Saint-Jack was the ninth Canadian astronaut to venture into space, a NASA asteroid probe equipped with a Canadian-made laser system arrived at its destination. The laser will scan an asteroid, make a 3D model, provide scientists with "unprecedented" information about its surface and help determine the best place to take a sample of, according to the Xa's website.

The CSA will also see the launch of three made-in-satellite satellites in February 2019 to monitor and provide data on ecosystems, agriculture, natural disasters and climate change in Canada.

Meanwhile, Canada has failed to connect the last NASA missions, including the launch of a Mars Rover in 2020, and was unable to construct the robotic arm for NASA's Lunar Gateway, a new space station to embark on Moon so 2024 that will serve as stepping stone to deep space. The new arm will cost about $ 2 billion to build over at least a decade, said Oskinsky. The International Space Station will save 2028.

"Canada participation in the Lunar Gateway is still being discussed by the Government of Canada," said the Xa's Malouin. "We are advancing technologies that are needed by the partnership in areas of strength for Canada, like robotics."

Watch: NASA 's deep space gateway & # 39; May place us on March 2030

If Canada is not active, it may also be part of the next stage of exploring the space, including asteroid mining and eventually manages on Mars.

"Space is opening up at an incredible speed due to technological advances," said Michael Byers, University of British Columbia Professor, focusing on outer space and Arctic sovereignty, and Canada Research Chair in global politics and international law.

"If Canada wants to be cutting edge technologically, it must be seriously engaged in space. If Canada wants to be a serious participant, it must be there for the regular making."

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