CAN-RGX Info Session – Sept 19


If you are applying to the Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment Design Challenge and have unanswered questions about the application process, requirements, qualifications, deadlines, project ideas, or anything else related to the competition, join us for our free information session!

Come and meet CAN-RGX organizing staff at the University of Toronto or stream the event remotely through Facebook Live!

  • Date: September 19th 2016
  • Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Location:
    • McLennan Physical Laboratories, room 102, 255 Huron Street, Toronto, ON
    • Facebook Live


Edit: If you missed our information session or want to see our slides, here they are!


Call for Proposals: Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment Design Challenge

Have you ever wanted to do research in space and experience microgravity? Here’s a chance for you to get a glimpse of just that.

SEDS-Canada will be selecting 4 university teams to design, build and fly a scientific microgravity experiment on board a parabolic aircraft in late summer 2017. Student teams will be challenged to design experiments for research in fields such as life science and fluid mechanics. Each team can select one or two members to fly on board the aircraft for 1 hour as ‘Mission Specialists’ and run the experiments. This is a unique opportunity for undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research in an environment that is unparalleled here on Earth.

We are calling for university students to submit a Letter of Intent by September 30, followed by a detailed proposal due on November 30. For more information visit our competition page.


Come to Ascension 2016, Canada’s National Space Conference for Students

We are excited to announce that our 2nd annual national conference will be hosted by the Space Society of London, our chapter at the University of Western Ontario, on March 5th and 6th.

Our conference is packed with talks and opportunities for students to interact with peers and speakers. The final rounds of our Young Space Entrepreneurs competition and SkyPixels Astrophotography competition will take place on Saturday, so that the winners can be announced at our Awards Banquet.

Sunday will include the Young Space Leaders Roundtable, an informal discussion between students and guests from industry and academia, and elections for the 2016-2017 Board of Directors as students look to the future and get energized to flourish in the year ahead.

Students can register for $20 to attend the conference on Saturday and Sunday, while non-students can register for $40. These rates will go up to $30 and $60 on February 27, so register soon! Registration for the Awards Banquet is separate and will be available soon.

Visit our conference website for more information on the agenda and current speakers:

Fundraiser on IndieGoGo/Generosity – Helps us Empower Students in Space


This past year has seen the revival of SEDS in Canada and a new coalition of student space enthusiasts. We come from a diverse range of backgrounds, but share a common vision: to see humanity expand into space for the betterment of all mankind.


Vision can only get you so far however. We are hard at work creating opportunities and resources that can benefit our student members. This year, we have launched our first annual Young Space Entrepreneurs (Y-SpacE) competition, designed to give students a chance to develop business plans for their ideas and pitch them to expert judges in the field. In progress is planning for our first annual astrophotography competition, SkyPixels.

March 14, 2015 marked our inaugural conference at the University of Toronto. In 2016, Ascension will be hosted by the Space Society of London at the University of Western Ontario. We expect to attract over 50 students from all over Canada, who will be able to network with each other, as well as with our guest speakers from industry, academia and government.

Ascension is also the ideal venue for hosting our annual competitions, SkyPixels and Y-SpacE. We also plan on organizing a competitive research poster session and the Young Space Leaders Roundtable, where student leaders from various clubs can share their ideas, advice and aspirations in an informal setting, with brief mentoring from veterans in the space community.

A Unified Voice

We are forming a unified network of pro-space student chapters across Canada to connect students who are passionate about space, and to support their objectives by providing opportunities and resources which have been lacking in recent years. Our membership is growing and already consists of several vibrant chapters at the University of Toronto, McGill University, York University, the University of Guelph, the University of Western Ontario, Lisgar Collegiate Institute and the University of Victoria.


We are also engaging the general public and the media in a discussion about why a strong Canadian space program is important and what the benefits of investing in Canada’s space program are. For example, in the 2015 federal election, SEDS-Canada helped raise the profile of the Canadian space sector by releasing weekly articles Canada’s rich history as a space-faring nation, and about space exploration in general. Our message on “Why Space Matters” was endorsed by 11 student groups from Vancouver to Montreal, and was featured in the Ottawa Citizen.


Our goals are ambitious, and our passion and commitment are only part of the puzzle, but our success depends on the support of passionate individuals like you and the wider community. We need your help to ensure that the next generation of space industry leaders have the opportunities they need to get their careers off the launchpad. If you wish to make a contribution to our cause, check out our fundraiser on Generosity, a fundraising platform for non-profits powered by IndieGoGo.

Federal Election: Canada’s accomplishments in space (Part 3/3)

This is the final installment of our 3 part series, Canada’s accomplishments in space. The first part is here, and the second part is here. The goal of this series was to help Canadians understand our history in space during the federal election, by compiling a list of the highlights of Canadian space exploration and development. We’re releasing the last post in this series the day after the election to emphasize that Canada doesn’t just have a history in space: it should have a future too. Today, we cover Canadian space in the new millennium.1

Part 3: The 21st Century

  • April 19, 2001: Chris Hadfield, flying on the Space Shuttle Endeavour, delivers the Canadarm2 to the ISS during STS-100. He also becomes the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk, called an Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA).
  • June 30, 2003: Canada’s first space telescope, MOST (“Microvariability And Oscillations Of Stars”), is launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia.
  • September 26, 2004: Ottawa-based EMS Technologies is awarded the contract to design the fine guidance sensor for NASA’s next generation James Webb Space Telescope (which is an essential component for the telescope to correctly orientate for its mission).
  • March 11, 2008: A telemanipulator built by Canada, called “Dextre”, is delivered to the ISS by Endeavour during STS-123. It completes the station’s Mobile Servicing System.


  • July 17, 2009: Two Canadians meet in space for the first time, when Endeavour docks with the ISS and CSA Astronaut Robert Thirsk (part of ISS Expedition 20) meets Julie Payette (Part of STS-127).
  • September 30, 2009: Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque de Soleil, becomes Canada’s first space tourist (and the thirteenth overall). He launched in a Russian Soyuz rocket, Soyuz TMA-16, for the ISS.
  • November 16, 2009: CSA funds the “Apex-Cambium” study, which will observe how trees grow in space.
  • March 13, 2013: ISS Expedition 35 begins. Chris Hadfield returns to the ISS for his third and final space flight, and takes up the role of expedition Commander.
  • June 2013: UrtheCast (TSX: UR), headquartered in Vancouver, becomes a publicly traded company. It aims to provide accessible HD feeds of the Earth from cameras on the ISS.

This rich history must not be squandered. Space exploration and development were central themes in our past, and they will be critical parts of our future.

1 In addition to the specific links provided in the bullet points above, this article drew heavily from the following sources (listed by topic or title): Canadian Space MilestonesCanada’s First Magnetic ObservatoryHistory of the Canadian Astronaut CorpsProject HARPA Brief History of the HARP ProjectGerald BullThe Canadian Space Agency is 25Space flight participantsExpedition 20Expedition 35Urthecast. Pictures are cited in mouseover text.

Alexander Wright,

Federal Election: Why spend money on space while people suffer on Earth?


At SEDS-Canada, we hear one objection to space funding over and over again: why should we spend money on outer space when people are suffering on Earth?

While we want to reduce Earthly suffering, we also believe that money must be spent on space exploration and development. Here’s why:

1. The space program does not compete with social programs

The Canadian government spends well over 100 billion dollars on social programs every year, and Provincial governments compound that figure. In contrast, the core government investment in space is 300 million dollars a year, and that figure hasn’t changed since 1999. So space funding is about 1/1000th (0.1%) of social spending. SEDS-Canada advocates raising the budget of the Canadian Space Agency to account for inflation – this would only increase it by 100 million dollars. These sums are drops in the ocean of Canadian social spending.

So, if you want to protect or increase social programs, space is not your enemy. If we diverted all space funding to social programs tomorrow, it would make very little difference to those social programs, just as it would make no difference to our social programs if we tripled our space expenses. These two areas are simply unrelated; they cannot be compared, and they do not compete for funds.

2. Space exploration makes us richer

The idea that space funding takes away from social funding assumes that money spent on space is simply wasted, and will never make anyone’s life better. But space funding does not take money away from Canadians. In fact, it grows the economy and provides good jobs. When money is spent on space, the money doesn’t go to space. It comes right back to Canadians.

3. Space exploration makes us smarter

We’ve mentioned that space investment is good for students, both on this website and in the Ottawa Citizen. We’ve also explained that space investments provide critically important spinoff technologies, like GPS and MRI scanners. All of this contributes to our collective knowledge. But space exploration also educates us in a much more fundamental way: are we really more ignorant because we walked on the moon?

Investing in space does not detract from social spending. Space exploration and development are such small parts of the federal budget that their funding cannot be compared to social spending. Space programs are also, ultimately, another type of social program. Investments in space will compound our wealth, develop critical technologies, and feed our yearning to know.

Samuel Baltz,