Live from the Canadian Aerospace Summit we are members of Canada's Space Sector discussing Canada's role in space and helping secure our nation's future in space technology and exploration. This includes a coalition of over 50 sector companies and interest groups with some members answering your questions today. We would love to discuss everything space from robotics, Earth observation, satellite communications, medical, technology and exploration to life in general working in the space sector. Also special guest, retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, will join us.

Chris Hadfield is a veteran redditor who even once did an AMA from the International Space Station (ISS). As a retired astronaut, engineer, and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Chris was the first Canadian to walk in space, has flown three space missions (including one 5-month stint), and has served as commander of the ISS.

Also joining us today:

• Mike Pley - I have worked in the space industry for over 30 years and currently am Chair the Space Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. I was the CEO of COM DEV, which supplied equipment to over 80% of all communications satellites and many national and international space missions. Space is in my blood!.

• Mike Greenley – I am Group President of MDA, maker of the Canadarm and anchor of Canada’s space sector. I’m pretty new to space exploration, but I have been kicking around advanced manufacturing for over 25 years, and have worked in a leadership role for some of Canada’s biggest security and defense companies.

• Dave McCabe – I’m Dave McCabe. I’m a Senior Customer Business Manager at Honeywell Aerospace (COM DEV) and over the past 30 years my journey has allowed me to touch on a diverse set of space sector activities: Black Brant sounding rockets, small satellite spacecraft and missions, optical and RF payloads, space shuttle and ISS experiments, astronaut robotics training, and of course parabolic aircraft flights! Ask me anything.

• Kate Howells - I’m a planetary science enthusiast working in space education and advocacy for The Planetary Society. I'm all about connecting the public to the adventure of space exploration. My claim to fame is that I work with Bill Nye, but then again he says his claim to fame is that he works with me! :)

• Holly Johnson - I’ve worked at MDA for 10 years -- started as a co-op student, then a systems engineer, and now working in the President’s office as a business manager. My first project? Working on the Canadarm! My latest? DLG. In the middle? Medical robotics for brain surgery.

• Lyndsey Poynter – I’m an MDA project engineer for mission operations on the Canadarm2 and Dextre robotics systems for the International Space Station, plus I train astronauts and ground flight controllers to operate them — love my job.

We are joined by The Don’t Let Go Canada Team ( ) who are working with sector companies to raise awareness about Canada’s Role in Space. If you want to help out please sign up and send a note to your Member of Parliament letting them know you are excited to see Canada’s leadership role in space continue.

Chris Hadfield Twitter -

We are signing off for dinner, but many of us likely will end up coming back and answering your questions. Please take a moment to follow us on Facebook and our website - send a note to your MP asking for them to help fund a space strategy. Check us out on Twitter too but since reddit is THE BEST we will keep coming around and checking in. Happy Upvoting! DLGCanada

Comments: 797 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

ColChrisHadfield150 karma

Thanks for all the questions! If you're near Toronto, please come to my Generator show this Thursday night at Roy Thomson Hall. It is going to be rare, thought-provoking fun with ideas, music, comedy - a special, weird, and interesting crossover of a night:

I'm off now to prepare for it - stories to tell, guests to interview, a song to learn ... thanks again!

DontLetGoCanada52 karma

Thanks Commander Hadfield - You made our day (again). Can't wait to see what you do next. #dontletgocanada

flare2000x69 karma

As a current Canadian university student interested in the space industry and Canada's role in space, what can I do to get involved?

DontLetGoCanada86 karma

Hey there! You can and should get involved! Check out the website to see what steps to take. You'll see that we are already supported by space engineering and rocketry teams at universities across the country.

FrogKidFrankReynolds41 karma

If you can say, what are some of Canada’s long-term space goals?

DontLetGoCanada114 karma

Unfortunately, the truth is that right now Canada doesn’t have any long-term goals. The last long-term plan goes back a couple of decades. And without a plan… drift. As a result, Canada has fallen from 8th to 18th place in investment in space since 1992. That’s why the Don’t Let Go Canada campaign exists: to get the Government of Canada to step up and put in place a long-term fully funded space plan.

ScaryPillow21 karma

Is there a particular political party that stands for Canadian investment in space exploration and research? It doesn't seem to be even on the agenda of any of the parties nowadays.

DontLetGoCanada40 karma

They all should! A major Ipsos survey conducted this summer found that roughly eight in 10 Canadians think the federal government should be supporting the development of the space sector; that if they heard the amount Canada is investing in space robotics was increasing they would think this is a good decision; and that success in space contributes a great deal to knowledge, innovation, and the competitiveness of Canada. An even greater proportion agree (91%, including 52% who strongly agree) that maintaining leadership in space robotics, like the Canadarm, is important for Canada.

These are the same Canadians that vote...

jewperhero27 karma

What do you think humanity’s future in space will look like ten years from now?

DontLetGoCanada44 karma

Lunar Gateway will be up and running; space mining will be getting big -- Tiny Luxembourg (population of just 600,000) has set its sights on being the leading country in space mining. Why space mining? Because just one asteroid, the size of a football field, is estimated to have between $25 and $50 billion worth of rare and precious metals, and there are currently 18,000 such asteroids in the vicinity of Earth. Space mining missions will start as early as the 2020s.

mad_fishmonger25 karma

How do you feel Canadians contribute to space exploration? What can the average person do to help encourage interest and support for Canadian space programs?

DontLetGoCanada15 karma

Check out the campaign -- our whole purpose is to let people know Canada is at a turning point when it comes to space and that if we don't turn this (space)ship around, we are at risk of letting go our world leading space sector. Trouble is, a lot of people outside this Reddit don't know that we are leaders and what we stand to lose.

oh_katy23 karma

Do you have any advice on how to deal with someone that adamantly denies space exploration and believes that the earth is flat?

DontLetGoCanada103 karma

Walk away. Let them use their GPS to find their best route home to go watch their satellite TV show.

Captain_Plutonium15 karma

Thoughts on Spacex and their plans for Mars?

DontLetGoCanada26 karma

Two thumbs up! They are pushing boundaries, which is important. Through their reusable rocket technology, they lowering the cost of getting to space, which will open up access to more governments and companies to launch technologies to space which will be of benefit to people on Earth - launching satellites to measure climate change, monitor forest fires so first responders know where to go, watch for ocean oil spills or bilge-dumping, etc.. Importantly, SpaceX is helping to rekindle our collective interest in space and making it exciting again! Their double rocket landing was incredible...

djrich414 karma

In general, how has time spent in space, isolated from the rest of the world, influenced the way you behave socially on earth? Do you think you are kinder? More withdrawn? More open? Has it made you more sympathetic? Perhaps you are a more lonely because you have experienced things most of humanity hasn't? Thanks!

ColChrisHadfield84 karma

The loneliest people I have ever met live in the middle of cities. Spaceflight is the opposite - it allows you the see the whole world in 92 minutes, to soak up the shared nature of human existence, to get a feel for the toughness and age of The Earth and life itself. It makes you an optimist, with increased resolve to be a good citizen, A contributing crewmember of the good ship Earth.

DontLetGoCanada6 karma

Just rereading the comments. Wow. Great quote.

MonsieurSander9 karma


DontLetGoCanada12 karma

Well, what makes sense to us is that you should get in touch with your government and express your support. Governments have lots of priorities, and space can feel far away from everyday concerns -- yet space now touches the lives of Canadians, for example, 20 to 30 times a day — from weather predictions, to monitoring climate change, to using an ATM, to checking a map on a smartphone, to downloading movies, to ground and air traffic management -- and tomorrow’s advances — autonomous cars, smart cities, advanced autonomous AI and robotics for manufacturing and even remote surgery – will be propelled by space science and technology. So, yeah, reach out and tell your government that investing in space matters to you. While you're at it, tell your friends and colleagues too.

alKaszL8 karma

Hey all, thanks for taking questions. I read about a spaceport being build in Nova Scotia sometime in the near future. Is that still moving forward ? If so, what do you think that will mean for Canadian space sector ?

DontLetGoCanada14 karma

It's a very exciting project. Maritime Launch Services, a #DontLetGoCanada partner, is working its way through the regulatory hoops. But imagine how exciting it would be to watch rocket launches from Canadian soil!

cordialsavage7 karma

Have you ever considered spelling it “spehce”?

DontLetGoCanada5 karma

Ha! Very Canadian!

grahamf976 karma

What is something related to space that you wish more people knew or talked about?

DontLetGoCanada8 karma

That the best way to monitor the Earth's melting ice caps is through space technology, as they are difficult to monitor in other ways. Canada's RADARSAT Earth observation satellites are important contributors to our knowledge in this area. RADARSAT-1 was launched in 1995 and lived for 17 years; RADARSAT-2 was launched in 2007 and is currently still providing robust information. And Canada is about to launch the third generation RADARSAT Constellation Mission, a trio of Earth observing satellites that will give us more timely information from space. Canada is very good at developing space technologies!

jampaq6 karma

In honor of the Don't Let Go Canada campaign, my friend, the very talented Jessica Borutski (@jessicaborutski on instagram) created a custom illustration inspired by Canada's space program! The details speak for themselves :) How do you like it, space people?

DontLetGoCanada4 karma

This is AMAZING! Thank you Jessica!!

Yes I know the original version and love it. See it all over Ottawa on Canada Day on T-shirts -

DontLetGoCanada3 karma

We have recently designed functionality on our website to let you email your MP. Try it out and let us know if it works by putting your postal code in. Also if you want to help us then SEND! Thanks


arandomcanadian913 karma

Question on manufacturing.

Why haven't we drawn up plans for an orbital manufacturing facility?

We have enough lift capability with the current rockets to get the piece of the structure up there, mind you it would take years to build and massive amounts of resources, but it would enhance our space exploration capabilities so we wouldn't have to deal with the atmosphere when it comes to launching craft at that point for exploration around the solar system.

DontLetGoCanada3 karma

Canada has been a leader in space robotics for decades. In fact, today is the anniversary of the first launch of the Canadarm in 1981 on STS-2. If you imagine the future of space exploration, a capability like robotics will always be important to be an expert in. Canadian company MDA is currently looking at the on-orbit servicing of satellites - repairing satellites that don't launch properly, or tugging them to a different orbit, or refueling them to give them a longer lifespan. You can then imagine building satellites or telescopes in space, because what constrains their size is the size of the rocket fairing. So as you say, you could easily bring up pieces and assemble in space, just like countries did with the ISS. In the future, maybe satellites will consist of a platform that will always stay in space, but you could swap out payloads with older technologies with newer versions. This would bring down the cost of large geostationary satellites, if its parts were built to be plug-n-play.

Nuranon3 karma

Any robotic arms/systems eyed for something like the Lunar Gateway?

I figure some assembly will still be required up there ;)

DontLetGoCanada4 karma

Check out this image of the Lunar Gateway produced by NASA - there is a robotic arm there! And it should be named Canadarm3, if we can convince the Canadian government to contribute it to NASA!

Otustas2 karma

Congratulations and thank you all!

And if I need to ask a question: Which question were you expecting and would you like to answer?

DontLetGoCanada3 karma

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses?

How do we as Canadians help Don't Let Go Canada Secure Canada's role in space?