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Archived - Celebrating Canada's Leadership in Space Research and Innovation

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Industry Minister discusses Canada's commitment to space science with academic and industry leaders in Alberta

April 13, 2015 – Edmonton, Alberta – Industry Canada

Canada has a proud history in space. In 1962 it became the third nation in space, and it was the first country in the world to have its own satellite—beaming television to the far corners of Canada's North.

Speaking at a reception held in the shadow of the University of Alberta's Astronomical Observatory, Industry Minister James Moore today outlined the Harper Government's support for a transformative infrastructure project for Canadian space research: participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

The TMT is a landmark international project that will build one of the world's largest and most advanced astronomical observatories, to be located in Hawaii. The majority of the Government's support for the TMT will be spent in Canada, creating high-quality jobs related to the construction and assembly of key telescope components. Canada's contribution will also secure a viewing share for Canadian researchers at the TMT once it is operational in 2023–24.

Through Canada's participation in the TMT, University of Alberta researchers and students will have access to leading-edge technologies and observing time on a world-class, state-of-art facility. Canada will continue to demonstrate its know-how and leadership in astronomy research, allowing the country to maintain a pool of highly qualified people who will bring their expertise to other disciplines.

Quick facts

  • On April 6, 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada will provide up to $243.5 million over 10 years to support Canada's participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that Canada is first among G7 countries in terms of the support it provides for research and development through its universities and colleges, relative to the size of its economy.
  • The University of Alberta is a leader space research. It is currently participating in the QB50 mission, where students at the university will build, launch and operate their own miniaturized satellite (CubeSat), weighing roughly one kilogram, as part of this international endeavour to study space weather and its impact on Earth.
  • Canada's space sector generates revenues in excess of $3 billion annually and employs some 8,000 highly skilled men and women.


"Canada is a scientific leader in astronomy and space innovation. The recent investments in the Thirty Meter Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope as well as our work under Canada's Space Policy Framework demonstrate our government's strong commitment to space research and technology projects. These projects will create and maintain high-quality jobs in communities across the country. As well, they will spark young Canadians' interest in science disciplines for decades to come."

– James Moore, Minister of Industry

"Space research is at a tipping point, with new miniaturized technology offering opportunities not only for scientific space exploration but also for the provision of new commercial and for-profit services from space. Training the next generation of scientists and engineers will be crucial for Canada to take advantage of these new economic opportunities. The AlbertaSat project at the University of Alberta offers a unique chance for our students to develop the skills and expertise to pursue careers in this new aerospace industry. We are extremely grateful to all of the partners, including the Government of Canada, who have made this possible and for making our students' space exploration dreams come true."

– Professor Ian R. Mann, Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Lead Faculty Advisor for Alberta Cube Satellite

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Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry

Media Relations
Industry Canada

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