Federal Election: Canada’s accomplishments in space (Part 2/3)

This post is part 2 of our 3 part series, Canada’s accomplishments in space. You can read the first part here. In the closing days of the federal election, we’d like to help Canadians understand our history in space, by compiling a list of the highlights of Canadian space exploration and development. Today’s section covers the years between the founding of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the new millennium.1

Part 2: The CSA and the late 20th Century

  • March 1, 1989: 22 years after its proposal by the Chapman Report, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is established.
  • October 6, 1990: Canada’s first scientific instrument is launched beyond Earth’s orbit. The High Flux Telescope (HFT) is part of the joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) Ulysses space probe to study our sun.
  • December 14, 1990: Bill C-16, the Canadian Space Agency Act, officially comes into force. The disparate parts of Canada’s space program are finally tied together under a single budget.
  • January 22-30, 1992: Roberta Bondar becomes the first Canadian woman, and the second Canadian, in space. She flies on the Space Shuttle Discovery, during STS-42.


  • March 24, 1992: Telesat Canada’s privatization process is completed, as the Government of Canada sells its remaining shares to Alouette Telecommunications Inc.
  • July 3, 1992: Astronauts March Garneau and newcomer Chris Hadfield are chosen by the CSA to become Canada’s first mission specialists.
  • November 12-20, 1995: Chris Hadfield (fourth Canadian in space) becomes the first Canadian to step aboard a space station. During STS-74, the second Space Shuttle Atlantis and Russian Space Station Mir docking mission.
  • October 2, 1996: The CSA’s headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, is officially named the John H. Chapman Space Centre. This acknowledges the father of the Canadian Space Program.
  • August 26, 1998: The Saskatoon-based company SED Systems Inc. is awarded a contract from the ESA to provide a telemetry, tracking, and command antenna system for their Rosetta mission. This mission successfully completed its orbital insertion of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on August 6th, 2014.


  • August 9, 1999: US based company SPACEHAB Inc., purchases the rights from the CSA to conduct research in one of their allocated experimental lockers. This marks the beginning of commercial applications on the ISS, with the CSA being the first space agency to allow it.

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, alexander.wright@seds.ca

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