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, alexander.wright@seds.ca

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