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Monday, May 2, 2016

Report: Canada could have its own Satellite Launch Capability:

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

I’ve written in the past about the view inside some parts of the Canadian Forces and the aerospace industry that Canada should, and could, have its own capability to launch small or micro-satellites. That way the country would not be beholding to the launch schedules of other nations.
Now Canadian space analyst Chuck Black has dug up a report from 2009 written for the Canadian Space Agency that concluded that Canada could develop such a capability, and at a reasonable cost. More from Chuck Black:

“The feasibility of an indigenous Canadian microsatellite launch system of specified capabilities (150kg to 800km sun-synchronous orbit) was examined, the report noted. It was confirmed that such a capability would meet much of the projected Canadian need, particularly as the utility of microsatellites has been increasing over time.” The report concluded that, “As a result of this study, we have determined that the original goals are feasible and can be achieved at a reasonable cost.” Overall cost was estimated at approximately $187M CDN over seven years; although a smaller satellite launcher could be built for less.”

Black asked the Canadian Space Agency why the study was never followed through on. He didn’t get an immediate answer.
If you are interested, you can read Chuck's entire proposal: Here

Added Content by: Daniel Maillet, CAF Dispatch author 

Where could such a location be placed? 

The Canadian Army, in cooperation with the US Military and the Canadian Space Agency operated the Fort Churchill Rocket Research Range east of Churchill, Manitoba until 1985. In a 2010 report by CTV-News, CSA was again considering Fort Churchill as the best possible location for a rocket launching facility. 

Nike rocket ready for launch from Fort Churchill. Photo taken between 1960 and 1964
The Churchill Rocket Research Range is now a National Historic Site of Canada; located on the 59th parallel, a few kilometres east of the town of Churchill, Manitoba, on the shores of Hudson Bay. The installation is an immense wedge-shaped piece of land with facilities for launching, tracking and retrieving the rockets. Until the site closed in 1985, the area known as the range head provided the working base for launching and tracking rockets for research into the upper atmosphere.

Churchill Rocket Research Range was built by the United States Army under the aegis of Canada’s Defence Research Board in 1956. It launched its first rocket for research into the upper atmosphere in October 1956. Over the years, Canadian programs participated increasingly in rocket research at this centre, and it became a National Research Council of Canada (NRC) facility in 1964. This was the only facility in Canada for launching sounding rockets. The Black Brant rocket, designed and built in Canada, was first launched from this centre in 1959.

The current remains of the Fort Churchill Rocket Research Centre. The Northern Studies Centre currently operates out of one of the former centre's main buildings.