Monday, June 18, 2012

Canadian Space Agency "Pulling Financial Support" for International Space University


Bob Richards.
Serial space entrepreneur and co-founder of the International Space University (ISU) Dr. Robert D. Richards has confirmed a recent rumor circulating through the academic community that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is "pulling their financial support of ISU."

The ISU, a private non-profit institution of higher education focused on space science and applied technology, is supported by a variety of Canadian and international organizations including Bristol Aerospace, the Boeing Company, ComDev International, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Israel Ministry of Defense, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Macdonald Dettwiler (MDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Optech Incorporated, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Royal Military College of Canada the United States Air Force (USAF) and quite a number of others.

The CSA is also currently listed on the ISU partners and sponsors webpage.

But, according to Richards, the CSA informed the ISU on April 12th that funding would be curtailed and that CSA representatives could no longer participate on the ISU Board of Directors.

"Canada has been a valued and dedicated ISU sponsor since pre-CSA times. So many leading Canadian space sector people are ISU grads who have been key to Canada's space activities and have paid the investment back to Canada many times over, its' hard to fathom (the decision)" he stated in response to an e-mail query earlier today.

A CSA withdrawal from the ISU would also seem to contradict the stated CSA public policy (most recently outlined in the May 24th, 2012 Space.com article "Space Agency Leaders Say Global Cooperation Vital for Future Exploration") advocating increased international co-operation among space agencies and stakeholders.

Canadian born Richards is is currently co-founder and CEO of Moon Express, Inc., a US company awarded a $10M commercial lunar contract by NASA and a competitor in the Google Lunar X PRIZE. In 1987, together with Todd B. Hawley and Peter Diamandis, Richards helped create the ISU.

1 comment:

  1. As a Canadian I'm embarrassed by this decision. I'm a graduate of ISU's Masters program and relied on funding from ESA to attend. Being a relatively small private university, ISU depends heavily on funding from institutions like the CSA. Providing even a moderate assistance to the university, the CSA could ensure they have access to new hires with the required technical and managerial background who have been immersed in a culture of international collaboration.

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