Monday, April 16, 2018

Struggling to Capitalize on R&D, Branch Plants & CDN Space Agency Budget a Little Higher than Expected

         By Chuck Black

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has just released early estimates for its next budget. As outlined in the April 16th, 2018 government of Canada post, "2018-19 Departmental Plan for the Canadian Space Agency," at an estimated $349Mln CDN it's a little higher than expected at least when compared to the planned spending for this year.

But that short term "stay of execution" won't last.

Without a major new Canadian focused project, such as the billion dollar RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) to bolster CSA budgets, most science and innovation funding will continue to default to other government organizations like the National Research Council (NRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) which, oddly enough, also report to Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Minister Navdeep Bains.

Those organizations, as outlined in the March 1st, 2018 post, "'Patent Boxes,' our Canadian Space Agency and the Lack of Real Innovation in the 2018 Federal Budget," are currently flush with several billion additional dollars, courtesy of the latest Federal budget.

However, as outlined in a report released last week by the Ottawa ON based Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) under the title "Competing in a Global Innovation Economy: The Current State of R&D in Canada," our problem isn't with the science.

According to the report, our country is struggling to capitalize its admittedly strong science sector and turn inventions into commercial products:
  • While Canada remains a leading global contributor to research, and is making important contributions across a wide range of fields, our international standing as a leading performer of research is at risk "due to a sustained slide in private and public R&D investment.

Gross domestic expenditures on R&D (GERD), as a % of gross domestic product (GDP) for Canada as compared to the average of member states in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) an intergovernmental economic organisation with 35 member countries (including 22 of the 28 European Union member states, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US). As demonstrated by the graph, Canada’s total investment in research and development (including government, business and academic sectors) has been dropping as a percentage of its GDP since 2001. Graph c/o John Sopinski/ Globe and Mail/ The Council of Canadian Academies using data supplied by OECD.

  • Canada is not producing research at levels comparable to other leading countries on most enabling and strategic technologies and the research is "comparatively less specialized and less esteemed in the core fields of the natural sciences and engineering."
  • Canadian industrial R&D spending is declining and concentrated in industries that are intrinsically less R&D intensive. Despite poor overall performance, Canada has pockets of R&D strength across several industries.
  • The barriers between innovation and wealth creation in Canada are more significant than those between R&D and innovation. The result is a deficit of technology start-ups growing to scale in Canada, and a loss of economic benefits.
  • Data limitations continue to constrain the assessment of R&D activity and excellence in Canada, particularly in industrial R&D and in the social sciences, arts, and humanities.
As outlined in the April 10th, 2018 Globe and Mail post, "Canada struggling to capitalize on research and development sector," Canada’s current innovation efforts "may not amount to even that much, as other countries surge forward with investments that leverage science and technology and reap the economic rewards."

The article quoted Max Blouw, a former president of Wilfrid Laurier University, who chaired the panel that produced the report, as stating that, "We’re now at a stage where we’d almost have to double our investments in order to catch up to the leaders.”

Of course, there are those like serial entrepreneur Tony Lacavera, who feels that real solutions lie outside the realm of simple spending.

According to Lacavera, at least some of our problems have to do with being too deferential, our oligarchical business structure and our need to subscribe to a "branch plant mentality" where we think that attracting giant foreign firms like Amazon and Boeing (and NASA) is better than developing our own expertise or taking on the mantle of leadership ourselves.

Surely the CSA is also riddled with this perception.

As outlined most recently by career public servant Graham Gibbs (who spent his final seven years in public service as Canada’s counselor for US space affairs in Washington DC) & retired CSA president," W. M. ("Mac") Evans in the June 4th, 2017 post on "A History of the Canadian Space Program - Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets," the Canadian space program:
... because it is and always has been a modestly budgeted program, has learned that leveraging international cooperation is a necessity, not a luxury...
That sort of sounds like our space agency is happy enough seeking out opportunities to build components for NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) missions.

That could also be why the CSA, as outlined in the March 22nd, 2018 post, "What Happens After the Failure of the Space Advisory Board?," will most likely end up primarily as a subcontractor for future US space exploration efforts.

But it could also be why, as outlined in the February 28th, 2018 post, "'Big Winners' in Tuesday's Federal Budget," $100Mln CDN was allocated in the 2018 Federal budget for "low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites intended to bring internet services to rural parts of the country." but wasn't allocated through the CSA.

Maybe we shouldn't give the the CSA (or any other ISED managed program, for that matter) any more money until they figure out that we don't need to become simply a branch plant for foreign concerns, figure out how to commercialize our IP and learn how to scale our admittedly innovative start-ups.

We could even an build an entirely original space program. Something unique and designed to address Canadian requirements such as communications over large distances or taking inventory of our assets in the far north.

You know, like Telesat did back in the 1970's and is currently doing today to access the latest $100Mln CDN allocated for funding LEO satellite constellations and what others did in the 1980s -90s with RADARSAT 1 and 2 programs.

Those projects were complete systems, not just components, which were built by Canadians to solve Canadian problems.

We could do that again. What a concept. If the idea was a good one, we could even fund it through the space agency.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

SABRE Surges Ahead With New Investments from Boeing, Rolls Royce & BAE Systems

          By Brian Orlotti

Oxfordshire, UK based Reaction Engines Limited (REL) has announced that it has raised £26.5 million GBP ($48Mln CDN) from three of the most powerful and influential firms in aerospace to support its development of the synergistic air-breathing rocket engine (SABRE), a revolutionary new type of engine combining jet and rocket technologies. The move bodes well for the burgeoning space industry and the opening of the space frontier.

As outlined in the April 12th, 2018 REL press release, "Reaction Engines secures £26.5m investment from new industrial and financial investors," the new investors include:
  • Manchester, Lancashire based Rolls-Royce, the legendary UK based aerospace manufacturer.
  • Farnborough, UK based BAE Systems, the defence, aerospace and security giant, which had previously invested £20.6Mln GBP ($37Mln CDN) in REL in 2015.
These new investments bring the total capital raised by REL in the last three years to over £100Mln GBP ($180Mln CDN), including UK government funding. This capital will move the SABRE development program forward, with the objective of ground-testing a SABRE engine in 2020.

REL is currently building a new facility in Westcott, Buckinghamshire, UK for this purpose.

In 2011, REL had secured $350Mln USD ($446.5Mln CDN) from the UK government for SABRE. In July of 2013, the UK government pledged an additional £60 million GBP ($118.5Mln CDN), enabling a full-scale prototype of SABRE to be built.

By 2015, REL had attracted attention in the US, with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), throwing its support behind SABRE by offering the use of its facilities to support the engine’s development.

Also, in September 2017, REL signed a contract with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conduct testing of SABRE’s heat exchanger.

The SABRE is being developed by REL to propel its planned Skylon single-stage-to-orbit space plane at hypersonic speeds (Mach 5.5+ or approximately 6800km per hour) while in Earth's atmosphere, then switch to a purely rocket mode (around Mach 27+ or just over 33,000 km per hour) in order to reach low Earth orbit.

Once in orbit, the craft would deposit its payload of up to 15 tonnes in a 300 km equatorial orbit, then reenter the atmosphere (protected by a ceramic composite skin) and land on a runway. Skylon could also carry up to 11 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition to its cargo-carrying potential, REL also stresses the SABRE’s advantages for commercial passenger aircraft. In the 2000’s, the EU funded the long-term advanced propulsion concepts and technologies (LAPCAT) I and II studies, which examined the potential for hypersonic aircraft.

The studies showed that hypersonic airliners would be capable of flying from London, UK to Sydney, Australia in 4.6 hours, compared to 22 hours for an Airbus A380.

The key to SABRE's ability to function as both aircraft and rocket ship is a complex heat-exchanger system that allows oxygen to be drawn directly from Earth's atmosphere to oxidize the on-board hydrogen fuel.

The SABRE's heat-exchanger (using methanol as an antifreeze) chills incoming air from more than 1,000C to -150C in less than 1/100th of a second before passing it through a turbo-compressor and into the rocket combustion chamber, where it is then burned with liquid hydrogen.

Maybe someone should give this guy some money. Canadians are also involved with researching the next generation of single stage to orbit (SSTO) space planes. As outlined in the May 30th, 2016 post, "The 'Most Interesting Man in the World' is Building a SSTO Spacecraft in Edmonton," AB based Space Engine Systems (SES), under the leadership of CEO Pradeep Dass, is also working on the project. For his assessment of how the SpaceX Falcon-9 compares with the proposed SES DASS GNX engine, check out the SES web-page on the topic. Graphic c/o Commercial Space Media.

With REL now on secure financial footing, other game-changing firms like Hawthorne, CA based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) are also raising new funds.

Hot off the success of its Falcon Heavy rocket, SpaceX is seeking to raise up to $507Mln USD ($636Mln CDN) in a new funding round, according to documents filed with the US state of Delaware two weeks ago.

As outlined in the April 12th, 2018 Geekwire post, "Elon Musk’s SpaceX aims to raise $500M as it makes progress on its Big F’n Rocket," SpaceX has authorized 3 million shares of stock for this Series I round, valued at $169 USD ($212 CDN) each.

This round could bring SpaceX to a valuation of approximately $23.7Bln USD ($30Bln CDN) if all shares are sold.

With REL’s game-changing technology entering the fray, the space frontier will open faster than ever before.
Brian Orlotti.

Brian Orlotti is a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ukrainian Rockets Like the Cyclone 4M Are Too Dangerous an Investment for Western Interests: Kyiv Post

         By Chuck Black

Many of those responsible for "the building of the spaceport’s launch centre, integration facility, and launch pad," for the proposed Cyclone 4M rocket launch facility on Canada's East coast, are also involved in an ongoing $800Mln US ($1Bln CDN) Ukranian state scandal over misappropriation of State Space Agency of Ukrainian (SSAU) funds and other "continuing scandals" which occurred throughout the "still incomplete" Ukrainian designed Cyclone-4M rocket development project.

Screen shot from the YSDO website. The number of "successful launches" the company tracks includes a variety of land and sea launch Zenit rockets, but doesn't include the Cyclone 4M, which has never flown. The company has been heavily promoting it's proposed Canadian launch facility to potential investors for at least two years and was originally quite open about asking for money up front. As outlined in the September 11th, 2016 post, "Ukranian Based Yuzhnoye Design Office Eyeing a Canadian Spaceport for its Cyclone-4 Rocket," Yuzhnove's then North American business representative John Isella said "we're looking for approximately $150Mln US (just under $200Mln CDN) in cash or kind (to build the rocket port), although we're certainly willing to negotiate for an appropriate facility." Graphic c/o YSDO.

At least that's what most reasonable people would conclude after reading two recent articles on the topic. That's without even mentioning other recent articles on Ukranian efforts to drum up interest in rocket launch facilities for Scotland and now Australia.

The first article, the March 14th, 2018 Ukrainian based Kyiv Post article, "Investors in Ukraine’s space industry face ‘Iron Curtain’" explicitly blamed senior officials at Dnipro, Ukraine based Yuzhmash (the Cyclone 4M builders) and the Yuzhnoye State Design Office (YSDO) which designed the Cyclone 4M, for "continuing scandals," the billion dollars worth of missing space agency funds and the current overall failure of the Ukraine rocket industry.

According to the article, the two state sponsored firms, along with their government patrons, have made it impossible for western based business interests, such as those represented by Hawthorne CA based SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, to even consider independent investments in Ukrainian based rocket technology:
... blame for the failure of the launch of Ukraine’s rocket industry cannot be placed with its rocket designers; given the realities in Ukraine, the two most obvious reasons are continued corruption, along with inflexible regulatory management policy in this formerly “flagship” economic sector.
On the one hand, the continuing scandals at Yuzhmash and YSDO (Yuzhnoye State Design Office), the two largest enterprises in the field in Ukraine, do not enhance investor appetites to fund space industry development. On the other hand, potential investments in Ukraine’s rocket science are unrealistic even for a dreamer such as SpaceX founder Elon Musk, due to the total state monopolization of the field.
Those statements goe a long way towards explaining why Nova Scotia based Maritime Launch Services (MLS), a joint venture of three US based firms planning to open a East Coast based Canadian launch facility, has been so reticent about where they were going to get its funds.

The usual suspects. The team responsible for the building of the proposed MLS spaceport’s launch centre, integration facility, and pad as introduced on December 17th, 2017 at a private MLS promotional event in Halifax, NS. From left to right: MLS CEO Stephen Matier with YSDO Ukraine representatives Maksym Degtiarov, Olexiy Vel'Mogin, Vitalii Baloshov, Anatolii Demchenko, Ruslan Potomkin, Sergii Podolskyi and Yeris Yevhen. YSDO’s head and general director Aleksander Degtyarev (not pictured in this photo) has been called "fully to blame for the failure of the (Cyclone 4M) project" by the Kyiv Post, but remains in charge at YSDO. Photo c/o MLS.

As outlined in the February 6th, 2017 post, "Europe Will Fund the Prometheus Reusable Engine; Canada Pitched Cyclone-4's," MLS spent most of its short life acting as a local agent for Yuzhnoye and YSDO, which seem to have been doing all the heavy lifting on the project and were actively soliciting international backers.

That seems to have changed recently and the second recent post on the topic, the April 11th, 2018 SpaceQ post, "Undisclosed Launch Company Signs Letter of Intent to Use Maritime Launch Services Spaceport," mentions three specific new areas of focus:
  • MLS has "received a letter of intent from an undisclosed launch company to use the spaceport." 
It's not that there is anything wrong with finding a replacement for the incomplete Cyclone 4M originally promised, or with adding a second customer to the mix. But the inability to attach a specific identity to the new tenant suggests a cautious approach to accepting the claim.
The proposed Canadian location. Graphic c/o CBC News.
It's also worth noting that specific rockets have specific, often unique, fuel and servicing requirements. MLS may require two separate launch pads to deal with different rockets. That could easily wind up as an extra expense instead of a benefit. 
  • MLS, through its local contractor, Bedford, NS based Strum Consulting, has "completed all the data collection required for the environmental assessment and has compiled the report, which is currently being submitted to Nova Scotia Environment. Once submitted and accepted by Nova Scotia Environment, the government conducts a 50-day review which includes a 30-day period for public input.”
Not that there is anything wrong with that either. But since required paperwork is still in progress, MLS will have a difficult time making its self imposed start date to begin construction of the launch facility. The November 9, 2017 SpaceQ post, "Maritime Launch Services Targets May 1 to Begin Construction at Nova Scotia Spaceport" will almost certainly turn out to be in error.
  • MLS has also engaged Toronto, ON based Jacob Capital Management Inc. (JCMI), to "lead the team of strategic and financial advisory services associated with MLS’s investor strategy."
All that really means is that the previous fund raising strategy (depending on Yuzhnoye and YSDO to solicit western investors) didn't work and the company is starting over from scratch. 
This lends credence to the Kyiv Post accounts of corruption and mismanagement within the Ukrainian space program, as discussed above.
According to the article, MLS is "making progress with working its Ukrainian suppliers."

As outlined in the March 11th, 2018 The West Australian post, "Ukrainian government wants to send rockets into orbit from WA’s Kimberley" Ukraine's ambassador to Australia, Nikolai Kulinich has pitched a "very realistic" proposal to the Australian government to build a "conmodrome"  outside the Curtin air base in the Kimberley, pitching the idea as an answer to Australia’s "decades-old dream to host its own launch facility." As outlined in the November 16, 2017 post, "More Rocket Shenanigans, Parts Problems at KB Yuzhnoye & Skyrora's Plan for a Scottish/ Ukrainian Spaceport," Scotland land has also been pitched. Only a year ago, as outlined in the March 15th, 2017 post, "Canada to get its own spaceport," MLS and it's Ukrainian partners had announced that they had "settled" on building a rocket launching facility just outside of Canso, NS after a long search. Photo c/o Sputnik

At one point, as outlined in the April 28th, 2017 Halifax, NS meeting of the Federal government mandated Space Advisory Board (SAB) Roundtable on Canada's Future in Space, "there was considerable optimism and excitement regarding plans for a spaceport in the Province of Nova Scotia."

Now that MLS has solicited a Canadian firm to fund raise for the spaceport, let's hope those credulous first impressions will soon be replaced with a deeper, skeptical and more fact based assessment.

Canadian investors and governments need to engage in appropriate due diligence before they begin to hand over any large sums of money to this project.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The 2018 Edition of "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs in Space"

Academics, students, grads, professors and government funded scientists scarcely ever "boldly go" anywhere these days, except perhaps to the library or the dollar store or on a cool "field trip" where they can sometimes get an autograph from someone "inspiring."  
Graphic c/o SpaceRayStott. an Australia & UK based space consultant.
Instead, real exploration is typically left to the flawed and the foolish, the inordinately ambitious opportunists and those without inheritances or a role in the current system, who self-appoint themselves to seek out "new life and new civilizations" and sometimes leave behind a useful legacy.
Fortunately we live in a world with fewer academic opportunities and greater, but so far mostly undefined, private sector opportunities.
With that in mind, here's a listing of several dozen useful places with several thousand current job openings in the international space and aerospace industry. We've even included the national space agencies, for those with a cautious bent.
But this situation won't last. So hurry, and please note that some of these jobs require security clearances, passports, work permits, landed immigrant status and/or even the acquisition of citizenship from the country where the job is located. 
How's that for a challenge. Happy hunting.

The 100 Top Aerospace Companies of 2017 - What better place to start than with the biggest and fastest growing firms in this area. Produced by Defence News, this annual report outlines the trends in the industry and ranks the top companies by revenues and profitability. The 2018 report should be out within the next few months. Job hunters will be sure to check it out.

Aero News, A Sky of Opportunities - A Quebec based job site focused on the Canadian aerospace market. Hundreds of Canadian positions from Airbus, Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier, Boeing and others.

The Bigelow Aerospace Career Page - Where better to discover "your place in space," than the firm with backing from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As outlined in the February 25th, 2015 Yahoo News post, "Business On the Moon: FAA Backs Bigelow Aerospace," the company has been encouraged by a variety of US Federal government agencies to continue the development of private sector applications for use on the Moon and elsewhere in space.

The Blue Origin Career Page - As outlined in the August 14th, 2017 Business Insider post, "Here’s a first look at Jeff Bezos’ monster rocket factory," Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is building a new rocket factory in Florida and needs employees to staff it. If you want to become one of the chosen, check out the site.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Careers, Jobs and Internships Page - A one stop shopping emporium for CSA job opportunities. The site includes links to listings covering CSA job openings, internships and student jobs, grants for universities and industry to work on CSA approved programs and the Canadian Space Directory, a listing of private and public organizations and academic institutions which do work for the CSA. Please note that, as of press time, there were scarcely any job openings at the CSA, so you might want to expand your search criteria.

The Epiq Space Job Board - This San Diego, California, based company is an online community dedicated to the satellite industry. The site was developed by industry veterans for engineers, scientists, suppliers, service providers and others who want to find products, companies, resources, industry news and career opportunities related to the satellite industry.

The European Space Agency (ESA) Career Page - As private business slowly begins to eclipse government in importance over the next few years, these government jobs will slowly begin drying up, so get them while they still available.

HE Space - Denmark-based specialist supplier of manpower for space programs with offices in the Netherlands, Germany and the US. The firm also manages the Jobs in Space Linked-In group.

The Listing of Astronomy and Planetary Scientist Jobs - Not all space focused jobs require applicants with an engineering degree. This list, with hundreds of openings from all around the world, focuses on candidates with a scientific background.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) 2018 Recruitment Page for Scientists and Engineers - ISRO has engaged in great scientific and technological feats in the aerospace and space sectors over the last two decades and they're always looking for new employees. Updated via the ISRO and, an Indian based job search firm.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) - Even in space, there are opportunities for those who are looking for something a little different from the traditional science or engineering degree. The IAMAW represents more than 40,000 Canadian workers in air transport and a wide range of manufacturing including aircraft, auto parts, buses, aerospace, electronics, light and heavy machinery, tools and appliances.

The Colorado Springs CO based Maxar Technologies List of Jobs Available at its its MDA Locations Across Canada - Dozens of positions, mostly for engineers willing to work in Montreal PQ and Vancouver BC.

NASA Careers - A public listing of available National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) openings. According to the site, NASA is one of "the best places to work in the Federal government®" as ranked by federal employee satisfaction.

Nebula Space - Recruiters of "top class candidates for the most exciting industry in the world." Run by industry professionals and focused solely on the space market.

The NewSpace Global listing of top 1000 NewSpace companies (subscription required) - This list is divided up into three smaller lists covering the most influential privately held companies, a second list covering additional privately held companies perceived as being "on the bubble" of growth (NSG OTB) plus a third list of top rated publicly traded space companies (the NSG PTC). A surprising number of companies on these three lists are Canadian and a surprising number of the rest have offices and employment opportunities in Canada.

NewSpace People - British based, database driven head-hunting firm with 1000's of listings which bills itself as "the business network for the space industry's global professionals and companies." Offers business development and recruitment campaigns, plus "free access to a global network growing by over 5% each month. Our business network is diverse with over 3,000 director-level decision makers, covering 100s of startup founders, chief executives of established space and satellite corporations, and venture capitalists from the global investment community."

The Sapienza Consulting Space & Defence Industry Jobs & Career Page - Focused on jobs for people who are eligible to work in the European Union.

Space Careers - A French based but English language site focused on "the top jobs and the best talents in the industry." Includes a jobs center, a space industry directory, a news and resource section with space news RSS feeds and a LinkedIn page. The site is maintained by Spacelinks, a specialist staffing consultancy focused on the European space and defense industry.

SpaceCareers.UK - Built by students for students and graduates looking to work in the space industry. A project of the UK chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS).

Space Individuals - Augsburg, Germany based  group of proactive people from various industries including aerospace engineering, information technology and user experience design, with  one common goal – to bring together individuals and employers.

Space Jobs - A site organized by Ray Stott, a European based freelance consultant focused on the space industry focused on upstream (manufacturers, space/launch/ground segments) & the downstream (satellite/space data applications) sector positions. The jobs seem focused geographically around the UK, Europe and Australia.

SpaceJob - Organizes job fairs and informational meetings on the space industry. Launched to connect space companies with the best talent across disciplines and experience levels in order to become "the driving force in capacity building and job creation in space."

The Space Job Market - A recruitment site designed to help job seekers join the right circles through networking and building personal contacts, where they can meet people in the space industry who are able to hire them. According to CEO and founder Paul Koronka, "Space has inadvertently evolved a closed shop that locks out newcomers and makes it difficult even for established people to advance our careers. And yet employers are crying out for new talent."

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STSCI) listing of Employment Opportunities - Located on the Johns Hopkins University Campus in Baltimore, Maryland, the STSCI manages both the Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). They offer "the wonder of 21st century space exploration in a job that offers a competitive salary and generous benefits."

The Telesat Canada listing of Current Job Opportunities - The iconic Canadian company, which helped launch a communications revolution in the North back in the 1970's, is still going strong. It's also still looking for a few good people to help administer its current fleet of satellites and build the next generation of low-latency low Earth orbit (LEO) communications satellites. 

UNIFOR - This union, created from the 2013 merger of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), might not represent the typical career path imagined by the average astronaut wannabe, but Canada's largest private sector union does represent aerospace workers at Boeing Canada (Local 2169), Bombardier/ de Havilland (Local 112), Cascade Aerospace (Local 114), CMC ElectronicsMagellan Aerospace (Local 3005) and Pratt and Whitney Canada (Local 510), which makes it worth checking out.

UrtheCast - Canada's most creative space company (formed through the "reverse takeover" of a publicly traded mining company) has fallen on hard times recently (as outlined in the  April 3rd, 2018 post, "Do the Bells Toll for UrtheCast? Q4 2017 Fiscal Report Shows Another Net Loss and Concern over Long-term Survival") but has still posted more openings on their career page, than you can find on the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Those applying for positions here should stand by for adventure. Galactic (VG) - For those who prefer suborbital space travel, this firm has a jobs board with literally dozens of new positions waiting to be filled.

The Wikipedia listing of government agencies engaged in space exploration - Categorized according to capabilities and including links to the listed agency's primary website. Consider this as one stop shopping for those inclined towards government service.

The listing of Aerospace Company Jobs - India's top jobs site has a large section of employment opportunities, as befitting a nation with one of the fastest growing indigenous space industries. But the real surprise is the number of international position which show up after a basic search.

The Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) careers page - The company that built the world's first "commercial spacecraft" has dozens of job openings covering a wide range of expertise.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Deep Space Industries Hedges Its Bets

          By Brian Orlotti

Mountain View, CA based Deep Space Industries (DSI) has announced that it has secured a contract to provide its Comet water-based propulsion system to Seattle, WA based Spaceflight Industries (SI) for its BlackSky constellation of Earth observation satellites. The announcement is a welcome sign that DSI has secured a near-term revenue stream while the company pursues its long term goals.

Spaceflight Industries isn't the only customer for DSI. According to the March 15th, 2018 Satnews Daily post, "Deep Space Industries to Provide Comet Satellite Propulsion for Astro Digital," the Comet thruster is a "simple, launch-safe, and cost-effective electrothermal propulsion system that uses water as a propellant and can be customized for nearly any small satellite application. This is especially important for Deep Space Industries’ future asteroid mining plans, as water will be among the first resources mined from asteroids." As outlined in the article, Mountain View, CA based Astro Digital has also selected DSI’s propulsion solution "because of the team’s ability to deliver a unique and relatively large smallsat propulsion system on an incredibly aggressive schedule." Graphic c/o Satnews.

As outlined in the April 3rd, 2018 DSI press release, "Deep Space Industries to provide Comet satellite propulsion for BlackSky, LeoStella," DSI is a private US firm developing technologies for asteroid mining and space-based manufacturing. The company plans to make in-space materials commercially available for both space-based manufacturing and infrastructure by the early 2020s.

Under the terms of the deal, DSI will provide a set of 20 water thrusters for the BlackSky satellites, which are expected to begin launching later this year. The Comet propulsion system will be the first in a series of ‘green’ solutions developed by DSI for small satellites.

In contrast to other satellite propulsion systems that use high-pressure and/or toxic propellants, the Comet system uses water (steam) which is both low-pressure and non-toxic, enabling safer satellite launches. In the long term, DSI plans to develop propulsion systems that use propellants harvested in space.

Comet was originally designed to be a component of the DSI Prospector-X. As outlined in the May 5th, 2016 Linked-In post, "Prospector-X™: An International Mission to Test Technologies for Asteroid Mining," the Prospector-X was developed in cooperation with the Luxembourg Government and the Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI), the national banking institution in Luxembourg. Graphic c/o DSI.

SI was founded in 2010 by Jason Andrews (who formerly worked for now defunct Kistler Aerospace) with Curt Blake, who has worked at Microsoft, Starwave, SpaceDev, and GotVoice, joining soon thereafter as SVP & General Counsel.

SI seeks to improve access to space by making launch more routine and cost effective through the use of standardized systems. SI’s two main brands are Spaceflight, their launch rideshare service and BlackSky, their geospatial intelligence service.

The company drives revenue by purchasing excess capacity from commercial launch vehicles (such as the Antares, Dnepr, Soyuz, and Falcon 9), then resells it to a number of "rideshare" secondary payloads, integrating all of the secondary satellites into one discrete unit. This provides substantial cost savings to reach orbit compared to buying an entire launch vehicle.

SI’s BlackSky constellation will eventually consist of 60 satellites that will provide high revisit rate Earth imagery. In combination with other space-based sensors, the satellites will be able to provide global monitoring and activity-based intelligence services.

The SI deal with DSI follows the recently announced $150Mln USD ($191Mln CDN) in funding and the formation of a joint venture with Cannes, France based Thales Alenia Space under the name LeoStella LLC.

LeoStella will setup a facility in Seattle to manufacture the BlackSky satellites and is expected to build twenty BlackSky spacecraft with DSI’s Comet propulsion technology by 2020.

DSI’s deal with SI is a classic win-win for both firms. SI will gain an innovative, greener and safer propulsion system while DSI will gain a steady revenue stream to sustain itself while pursuing long term goals.

The company’s short term survival needs came into sharp focus in mid-2017 when it let go of its CEO Dan Faber after the company failed to reach its sales targets.

Faber, a serial entrepreneur who started out in Canada as treasurer of the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) has since gone on to found another space resources startup, Silicon Valley, CA based Orbit Fab, which "is working with a network of partners to remove barriers for commercial use of on-orbit materials," according to Crunchbase.

With the BlackSky deal, DSI will be able to survive and that order.
Editors Note: The DSI commercial business methodologies seem to be moving the company forward. As outlined in the April 17th, 2018 DSI press release, "Deep Space Industries Raises $3.5M+ Series A to Fund New Propulsion System and Deep Space Exploration Spacecraft," the company has announced that it has raised "just over $3.5M from private investors." 
The new funding "will be used to develop MeteorTM, the company’s new launch-safe bipropellant rocket engine, and continue the ongoing development of the XplorerTM spacecraft, the company’s deep space exploration platform scheduled for launch in 2020."
Brian Orlotti.

Brian Orlotti is a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

Part Five: So You Want to be a Space Advocate?

Measuring the Current Canadian Space Sector

                   By Chuck Black
An earlier version of this article was presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th - October 3rd, 2014.

Its thesis is that successful advocacy requires:
  • Strong media skills able to define the problem, craft a compelling narrative and define appropriate solutions
  • A mechanism to move the narrative forwards by solving the defined problem using those previously identified solutions.
  • A funding network willing to pay for the costs associated with the campaign.
The question of whether or not those three conditions apply in our current aerospace and space environment is open for debate.

As outlined in the executive summary of the 2015 State of the Canadian Space Sector Report, "in 2015, total revenues in the Canadian space sector totaled $5.3Bln CDN, representing a slight decrease overall of 1.6%, or $85Mln CDN, year-over-year. The average annual growth rate of the space sector over the last five years (2010–2015) is relatively flat at 0.4%." [i]

Essentially, this meant that the Canadian space sector spent the period between 2010 - 2015 in a five year slump, although the the Canadian revenues were in line with the revenues reported by the same activities in the international marketplace. [ii]

Revenue growth and proportion by activity sector for the Canadian space sector, covering the period 2010 - 2015. It's worth noting that, while satellite communication is the largest sector by revenue ($4.5Bln CDN for 2015), the Earth observation (EO) market segment is the fastest growing and both sectors are driven by commercial considerations. Space exploration (with 2.1% of total measured revenues) and space science (1.3% of total measured revenues) are the sectors primarily driven by the academic communities. [iii] Graphic c/o CSA.

In a surprise finding, the report concluded that university and research centre revenues amounted to only $125Mln CDN in 2015, or only 2.4% of the total revenue measured, although six universities were included in the list of Canada’s top 30 space organizations.

According to the report, while the academics didn't drive a lot of the revenue, they did compose a substantial proportion of the workforce:
Academic organizations contribute 20% of the total space sector workforce with 1,997 full-time equivalents (or FTEs, the standard measurement of labour requirements in government), of which 55% are highly qualified personnel (HQP) such as engineers, scientists and technicians. 
An additional 40% of the university and research centre workforce is comprised of students, mostly at the graduate level, who are in receipt of wages or a stipend from their university for work as research assistants, teaching assistants, or other employee-type situations.
The Canadian space workforce totaled 9,927 space-related FTEs in 2015, according to the report. [iv]

The general consensus until now has been that Canadian academics, with funding from government departments such as the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the National Research Council (NRC) and others, have essentially drives the space industry to focus on the pursuit of scientific knowledge. But even at 20% of the total space sector workforce, the academic community doesn't dominate the industry the way many might expect.

Therefore, the general consensus is almost certainly in error, even as such perceptions have been bolstered by recent books, including Canada’s 50 Years in Space: The COSPAR Anniversary (by Gordon Shepherd and Agnes Kruchio) and Canada in Space (by Chris Gainor). Both books focused more on Canada's scientific contributions than on the larger political and economic machinations which led to those scientific successes.

Some organizations know their audience and are able to craft cogent arguments which governments can embrace and fund. An example would be Finance Minister Bill Morneau's recent announcement that $100Mln Cdn would be used to fund firms planning to develop constellations of low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites intended to bring internet services to rural parts of the country. [v] Graphic c/o Commercial Space blog.

Since the space advocacy groups attempting to drive the current conversation on Canada's future in space are, in the main, composed of student and academic focused organizations either acting independently or serving as conduits for academic interests, the true state of Canada's space industry must come as a surprise to many of them.

We'll discuss those advocacy groups in the next posting in this series.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog. 

An updated version of this series will be presented at the 18th Astronautics Conference of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute ( CASI ASTRO 18), which will be held from May 15th - 17th in Quebec City, PQ. 

[i] "2015 State of the Canadian Space Sector Report," released in September 2017 at Last accessed April 9th, 2018. 
[ii] "The Latest CDN Space Sector Report Notes 5 Year Slump (Except for BC) & Industry Dominates, Not Academia or Gov't," by Chuck Black. The Commercial Space blog June 13th, 2017 at Last accessed April 7th, 2018.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Ibid. 
[v]  "'Big Winners' in Tuesday's Federal Budget," by Henry Stewart, The Commercial Space blog February 28th, 2018 at Last accessed April 9th, 2018.
Last: Why the Activism of the 1970's US Pro-Space Movement Didn't Work, in Part Four of "So You Want to be a Space Advocate."

Next Week: Canadian Advocacy Groups, as Part Six of "So You Want to be a Space Advocate." continues!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

X-Prize Insists It's Not Dead Yet. Relaunches Under New Name But Without Cash Prize

         By Henry Stewart

Yogi Berra (who may have said it first) and Lenny Kravitz (who composed a track under the title for this 1991 album "Mama Said") aren't the only ones who believe that "it ain't over until it's over."

As outlined in an April 4th, 2018 YouTube video "Lunar XPRIZE Announcement," which has also been posted on the new Lunar X-Prize website, the original Google Lunar X-Prize competition might now be over, but the concept marches on.

The new video stars Peter Diamandis, the founder and chairman of the X-Prize Foundation, which organized the original competition. According to Diamandis, five of the twenty nine teams who competed for the original X-Prize between 2007 and March 2018 have now "solidified" launch contracts and are expected to land on the Moon over the next two years.

He feels they should be supported.

As for the new competition, it's now called simply the "Lunar X-Prize," and is actively seeking new sponsors, philanthropists or benefactors to replace Mountain View, CA based Google, which supported the original contest throughout its almost eleven year run.

According to Diamantis, "at this point we simply don't want to give on these teams (the five teams considered to still be in the running)."

The April 5th, 2018 X-Prize press release, "XPrize Plans to Continue Lunar XPrize Missions," also included statements of support from Takeshi Hakamada (the founder and CEO of Japanese based ispace, the management company for X-Prize competitor Team Hakuto, Rahul Narayan (the CEO and founder of Bangalore India based X-Prize contender Teamindus) and Bob Richards (the founder & CEO of Cape Canaveral FL based Moon Express, considered the front runner in any revived contest).

As outlined in the April 5th, 2018 The Verge post, "X Prize relaunches its Moon competition, but without a cash prize," the decision to shut down the original Lunar prize was “a collective decision” taken with Google last year.

We appreciate Google’s commitment and respect their decision in having their prize purse end on March 31, 2018 regardless of team progress, and launch scenarios,” X-Prize spokesperson Katherine Schelbert told The Verge.

As outlined in The Verge post, the rules for entering the new Lunar X-Prize aren’t clear yet, but the foundation said it will be announced “over the next few months.”

It ain't over til it's over.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer

The 2018 Edition of "Summer Reading for Space Geeks

Graphic c/o
Here's our latest updated listing of sixty plus interesting articles, websites, movies, publications and historical documents, intended to provide a bit of context to the current space debates happening here and elsewhere.


50 Years of European Co-operation in Space: A presentation to the 57th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (13 June 2014) - Not many know that the collaborative European space effort was officially born 50 years ago, when two leading scientific statesmen, Pierre Auger of France and Edoardo Amaldi of Italy, made the first steps towards establishing a significant European presence in space. This presentation provides context for their first meetings and shows how they helped create the current European Space Agency (ESA).

Aerospace Marketing Management - Whether you want to build rockets, planes or something else, you'll need to know how to fund, promote and market your project. This book provides an overall picture of both B2B and B2C marketing strategies, concepts and tools used throughout the aeronautics sector. It includes useful discussions of trends such as social marketing, customer orientation strategies, project marketing, concurrent engineering strategies, the tactics of "coopetition" or co-operative competition within organizations and many other useful methodologies. A ready reference for professionals and graduates from both engineering and business schools interested in aerospace and "spaaace!"

Aerospace Projects Review - The classic "journal of unbuilt aircraft and spacecraft projects" including detailed schematics for aircraft and spacecraft designs such as Saturn V S-IC derived flyback boosters, the Helios nuclear-pulse propulsion program, the incredible Project Orion interplanetary battleship along with various predecessors of the X-20 Dyna Soar, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station (ISS) and many others.

After Apollo: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program by John M. Logsdon - After the success of the Apollo 11 mission the question became, 'What do you do next, after landing on the Moon?' It fell to President Richard M. Nixon to answer this question. The book chronicles his successes and failures in this area and suggests reasons why people are still asking this question, over forty years later.

Amazing Stories of the Space Age: True Tales of Nazis in Orbit, Soldiers on the Moon, Orphaned Martian Robots, and Other Fascinating Accounts from the Annals of Spaceflight by Rob Pyle - With a title like that, you just know it's gotta be good. An insider's perspective on the most unusual and bizarre space missions ever devised inside and outside of NASA.

The Archimedes Institute - An international not-for-profit organization focused on issues of private property claims in space, which was active from 1997 to the early 2000's, a period during which many early legal claims in this area began to flow through the court system. The site was organized and maintained by Professor Lawrence D. Roberts, a legal academic specializing in science and technology policy, and David Kantymir.

Arms and the Man; Dr. Gerald Bull, Iraq, and the Supergun by William Lowther - A short history of flawed Canadian genius Dr. Gerald Bull, a passionate and driven ballistics visionary responsible for the design of many of the worlds deadliest artillery cannons, who initially hoped to build "superguns" able to send small satellites into space, but ended up attempting to fund his dream by dancing with the devil through the political machinations of the middle east.

Arrows to the Moon; Avro's Engineers and the Space Race by Chris Gainor - While most know about the German rocket engineers led by Wernher von Braun, who helped put Apollo astronauts on the Moon, very few have heard about the Canadian engineers like Jim Chamberlin, John Hodge, Owen Maynard and others who top NASA officials called a "godsend" to the US space program in its early years. This is their story.

Arthur C. Clarke: A Life Remembered by Fred Clarke - Written by his brother, this book provides a rare insight into Arthur's early life, and into the people he met and influenced during his own personal odyssey. The book also includes a unique collection of photographs from the Clarke family, some of which have never been published before.

Asteroid Mining 101: Wealth for the New Space Economy by John S. Lewis - As may be expected, recent press reports dealing with asteroid mining have been numerous and of varying quality which suggests that there are good reasons to look closely at the underlying science and engineering that form the foundation of this work. A technical read, but the patient person willing to do the appropriate due-diligence will be well rewarded. 

The Atomic Rockets of the Space Patrol website - Inspired by Robert HeinleinArthur C. Clarke and Jerry Pournelle and designed to provide everything you need to know about designing and building spaceships. The site is especially useful for its discussions on engines, realistic spacecraft designs and a standalone section on "Rocketpunk and MacGuffinite."

Becoming Spacefarers: Rescuing America's Space Program by James A. Vedda - All you ever wanted to know about the US space program with extra political intrigue, spicy historical analogies and ideas that challenge conventional wisdom added for seasoning. Written for those who know that what we should be doing next in space is heavily dependent on what we've been doing up until now.

The Birth of NASA: The Diary of T. Keith Glennan by by T. Keith Glennan, J. D. Hunley (editor) with an introduction by Roger D. Launius -  The story of the critical formative months of NASA, written in diary format by its first administrator. Glennan's stay at NASA was short, but he built the organization that would vary soon afterwards start senting men to the moon.

The Birth of NASA: The Work of the Space Task Group, America's First True Space Pioneers by Dutch Ehrenfried -  The story of the work of the original NASA space pioneers; men and women who were suddenly organized in 1958 from the then National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) into the Space Task Group and their contribution to the early years of NASA.

Canada in Space by Chris Gainor - A short history of Canada's contributions to space research and discovery including the development of the Canadarm and Canadarm2, the Alouette I ionospheric research satellite, the Canadians who engineered key components for NASA's Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programs the birth of Canada's commercial satellite industry and much, much more.

Canada’s 50 Years in Space: The COSPAR Anniversary by Gordon Shepherd and Agnes Kruchio – Provides a thorough description of the parallel growth of the Canadian space science program and the international activities of the Paris based Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) from 1958 up until the 50th Anniversary of COSPAR in 2008. For those who think we need to know more about our history and plan on not making the same mistakes.

Canadian Space Directory – The Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) listing of Canadian private and public organizations who have been and/or are engaged in space related activities.

The Canadian Space Program- From Black Brant to the International Space Station by Andrew Godefroy - Tells the complete story of Canada’s space program from its origins at the end of the Second World War until 2009, about the time then Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Steve MacLean submitted his long-term space plan to the Canadian government for consideration. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government rejected that plan and the CSA, along with Canada's space program, has been drifting ever since.

Canadian Spacewalkers: Hadfield, MacLean and Williams Remember the Ultimate High Adventure by Bob MacDonald -  What's it really like to step into that abyss; to leap out into space with only the thin fabric of your suit between you and the universe? Find out in this compilation of perspectives from three Canadian space walkers starting from the beginning of their training right through to the moment when they opened the hatch and stepped outside into the cold blackness of space. The book is lavishly illustrated with stunning NASA photos.

The Case for Space Solar Power by John Mankins - A must-read primer on the topic of space based solar power providing context and history on the topic with outlines of proposed concepts, objectives and hurdles still to be overcome plus an explanation of possible future development timelines all presented in an organized and easy-to-digest manner.

The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy - This Virginia based think tank focuses on the legal and policy issues associated with geo-spatial data and technology, and how those questions relate to issues of privacy, data quality, intellectual property rights and national security. It's a shame that the connections and answers are often undefined, inconsistent and/or unclear.

China in Space: The Great Leap Forward by Brian Harvey - The explosive growth of China’s innovative and rapidly developing space program in recent years has made it a hot topic in international space policy. This follow up to Harvey's earlier book, China's Space Program - From Conception To Manned Spaceflight (2004) bring us up to date with everything that is happening in the Chinese space program today and looks at its ambitious future.

Cold War Tech War; The Politics of America's Air Defense by Randall Whitcomb - Explores the geo-political, technical and economic aspects of the Avro Canada story by revealing, for the first time anywhere, several exciting design proposals of the Avro company while putting the company and its technology into an international context. Global intelligence angles are explored from pre-WW II through the Cold War period. Focus is on bi-lateral issues with the Americans, with some pertinent American statesmen and industrialists receiving special attention for their roles.

Creating A Robust Canadian Space Research Exploration & Development Industry - The Canadian Mineral Industry Flow-Though Share Analog by John Chapman, Nadeem Ghafoor, Christian Sallaburger and Frank Teti - A paper originally presented at the 2008 Canadian Space Summit, which suggested that private capital would flow into the space industry if the government gave the space industry the same tax breaks as the mining industry. Became the basis for the second of three Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) submissions to the 2012 Canadian Aerospace review under the title "Using Tools from the Mining Industry to Spur Innovation and Grow the Canadian Space Industry."

Defence and Discovery: Canada's Military Space Program, 1945-74 by Andrew B. Godefroy - A comprehensive examination of the origins, development, and impact of Canada's space program. Drawing on declassified archival sources and a wealth of secondary material, Canada's early space research is put into context along with the central role of military enterprise in these early endeavours. The technological, political, and strategic implications of the country's early innovation in space-research technology are also discussed, as is the country's subsequent turn from this arena.

Encyclopedia Astronautica - A comprehensive catalog of vehicles, technology, astronauts and information from most countries that have had an active rocket research program, maintained by space enthusiast and author Mark Wade. Part of the Space Daily network.

Friends of the CRC – An association of alumni of the Communications Research Centre (CRC), the government department responsible for most of Canada’s early satellite launches. The site provides multiple articles on early Canadian efforts by some of the people who were actually there. Authors include Bert Blevis ("The Pursuit of Equality: The Role of the Ionosphere and Satellite Communications in Canadian Development" and "The Implications of Satellite Technology for Television Broadcasting in Canada" with M.L. Card), Gerald Poaps ("Gerald Poaps' Scrapbook") and others.

Archived presentations from the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group - These are archived and peer reviewed studies going back to 2016 (some with audio visual and power-points) for a variety of NASA approved concepts related to future in-space operations and activities. For FISO presentations made between 2013 - 2015, check out this link.

The January 2018 update to the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) Global Space Exploration Roadmap - The third edition of a publication first released in September 2011 and updated in August 2013, includes updated agency plans and programs designed to facilitate "stakeholder engagement within countries and across space agencies to realise human and robotic exploration of destinations where humans may one day live and work."

The Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy - From the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which grew out of the post WW2, US-financed Marshall Plan to provide "a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems." The publication provides a summary of the key methodological issues surrounding indicators and statistics on the space sector and the larger space economy and is meant to be complementary to another publication, the Space Economy at a Glance 2011. Both publications, along with many others including the more recent Space Economy at a Glance 2014, are available from the OECD website.

The Handbook for New Actors in Space edited by edited by Christopher D. Johnson - An interesting overview on the current international legal framework for space activities, national space policies, trending issues and how to appropriately navigate around ambiguities and blind spots in the legislation. A collaborative effort between Broomfield, CO based Secure World Foundation (SWF), a privately held operating foundation created in 2004 to develop and promote "ideas and actions to achieve the secure, sustainable, and peaceful uses of outer space benefiting Earth and all its peoples," and a variety of experts from government, business, academia, and civil society.

The High Frontier by Gerard K. O'Neill and Freeman Dyson - A classic work on the practicality and economics of the human colonization of space. When the first edition was published back in the mid 1970s, the author likely assumed that some of us would be living in orbit by now.

Historical Analogs for the Stimulation of Space Commerce - For those of us who feel government has a role in the conquest of space, this book examines six models of government support for commercial space activities and how the lessons learned from them could help do so. Part of the NASA History Series of publications.

Historical Investment Financing of Exploration for New Worlds, Current Analogies to Other Industries, and Ideas for the Future by Eva Jane Lark - Essential reading for understanding how exploration has really been financed, written by a Canadian banking executive. Here's a hint. It's mostly not done through government programs.

India's Space Journey: From Fishing Hamlet to Red Planet edited by P. V. Manoranjan Rao, B. N. Suresh and V. P. Balagangadharan - A chronicle "like so many other histories written by engineers and scientists, long on nuts and bolts as well as the story of a march of progress and short on analysis and context," according to author Roger Launius. Still worth a look, especially given that India is currently a space powerhouse.

Introduction to U.S. Export Controls for the Commercial Space Industry - Written by the Office of Space Commerce and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation, this guidebook provides basic information to help commercial space organizations, especially emerging entrepreneurial firms, considering business in the international market. It is intended to serve as a starting point in the preparation for the export control process and includes plain language explanations of US satellite export controls and export control reform initiatives, how the control lists work, how to apply for a license or use a license exemption and ensuring compliance after export authorization.

ISRU Info: The Home of the Space Resources Roundtable - A US based 501 c (3) non-profit promoting the development of space resources.  The organization promotes and provides information on availability, applicability and status of development of the resources of space beyond the atmosphere of the Earth.

Janes Space Systems and Industry - A pricey but comprehensive listing of the thousands of commercial and military space systems in service and under development around the world. Designed to provide aerospace and defence businesses with "critical independent technical and market intelligence" to support effective business and products development and provide military and security organizations with the intelligence they need to support critical analysis, planning and procurement activities.

Jonathan's Space Report by Jonathan McDowell - The gold standard for independent data collection on national and international space activities. Includes Jonathan's bimonthly Space Report (which tracks all space launches, piloted missions and automated satellites), a draft follow-up of the next issue (often updated before the official publication) and Jonathan's Space Home Page, which contains extensive data on the history of space exploration.

LEO on the Cheap by Lt. Col. John R. London III - A fascinating read on methods to achieve drastic reductions in launch costs. It serves as a useful companion piece to the 1993 John Walker article "a Rocket a Day Keeps the High Costs Away."

The Long Space Age: The Economic Origins of Space Exploration from Colonial America to the Cold War by Alexander MacDonald - Examines the economic history of American space exploration and spaceflight, from early astronomical observatories to the International Space Station, and argues that the contemporary rise of private-sector efforts is the re-emergence of a long-run trend not a new phenomenon. A slap in the face to government scientists who think the only way to fund science is on the government dole.

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin - In-depth interviews with twenty-three of the twenty-four moon voyageurs, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving. The book conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail. Includes an introduction by Tom Hanks, an actor who has played an astronaut in movies and is therefore assumed to know what he's talking about.

Maple Leaf in Orbit: Institutionalizing the Canadian Space Program, 1984–1995 by Andrew B. Godefroy - Was the success of Canada’s space program in the first half of the 1980s largely the result of the country’s increased bilateral space cooperation with the United States? Godefroy argues that it was and calls co-operative initiatives such as the Canadarm a demonstration of how both Canadian nationalism and internationalism could work in outer space, despite the presence of some political friction between the two partners on Earth. Vital context to inform the current debate over Canada's space future.

Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program by David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek - Why did a government program whose standard operating procedure had always been secrecy turn its greatest achievement into a communal "brand experience" with top media ratings and high public approval? Read this book and find out.

Microlaunchers: Technology for a New Space Age by Charles Pooley and Ed LeBouthillier - An introduction to microlaunchers and microlauncher technology written for those who have a basic understanding of high school algebra and physics.

The Microsat Way in Canada by Peter Stibrany and Kieran A. Carroll - A formative paper written by two of the people involved in the design and development of the Microvariability and Oscillations of STars (MOST) space telescope, discussing how micro-satellite manufacturing methodologies will change the economics of space applications and reduce the barriers to entry for new companies. These discussions eventually became the basis for the methodologies in use today at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratory (SFL).

NASA E-book and podcasts - A fascinating list of NASA books, podcasts, galleries' apps, ringtones and information relating to the US space program. 

The Online Journal of Space Communication - Since 2001, this scholarly publication has bridged the world of the professional and the world of the academic, two worlds in desperate need of bridging. The publication examines a broad range of issues and events in space and satellite communication, including their historical, technological, economic, policy, cultural and social dimensions.

The Orbital Express Project of Bristol Aerospace and Microsat Launch Systems by Geoffrey V. Hughes - An important case study for those wishing to study the technology and business development issues surrounding a small satellite launch vehicle.

The Plundering of NASA: An Expose by Rickey D Boozer - An interesting expose which attempts to lift the veil of Congressional politics which force NASA to do the bidding of regional interests that cripple the nation’s capabilities in both exploring outer space and exploiting its enormous economic potential.

Proceedings of the 48th History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) edited by Marsha Freedmann - Volume 46 of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) series on the History of Rocketry and Astronautics. Includes a DVD supplement containing a 2014 interview with long-time International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) member Prof. Iván Almár and the paper, "One Hundred Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield," by Robert Godwin, Phil Lapp and Chuck Black, which was serialized on the Commercial Space blog, beginning with the February 7th, 2015 post, "Verne, The Fur Country, G.Y. Kaufman, Baldwin, McCurdy & Balfour Currie."

Proceedings of the Princeton Conferences on Space Manufacturing - Abstracts from thirteen conferences from 1975 until 2001, which focused on the challenges and opportunities of space based manufacturing. The original events were organized in cooperation with the Space Studies Institute, a not-for-profit organization which grew out of the interest generated by Gerard K. O’Neill’s vision of human colonies in space.

Quest, The History of Space Flight Quarterly - A combination of learned journal and mass market publication which captures stories related to the people, projects, and programs that have been part of the last fifty years of civil, military, commercial, and international space activities.

Reaching for the High Frontier: The American Pro-Space Movement, 1972-1984 by Michael A. G. Michaud - Exceptional reading for background on the various space advocacy groups which grew out of the 1972–1984 period of stagnant space activities. The book provides many useful lessons on advocacy and a PDF is available online at no charge.

Russian Space Web - Anatoly Zak's massive compendium of news and background material on the historical Soviet and the current Russian and Ukrainian space programs is required reading for space experts. The documentation on the Ukrainian Cyclone-4 and Cyclone 4M rocket programs are especially relevant to recent proposals to build a launch facility on the Canadian East coast.

Russia in Space: The Past Explained. The Future Explored by Anatoly Zak - This comprehensive history of the Russian space program is a unique attempt to visualize the future of astronautics through the eyes of Russian space engineers and describe the processes which went into a nation's planning in space over the past several decades. A large format, full colour and well illustrated book bolstered by almost 700 footnotes.

Safe is Not an Option: Overcoming the Futile Obsession with Getting Everyone Back Alive that is Killing our Expansion into Space by Rand Simberg - Since the end of Apollo, US space operations have ostensibly emphasized safety first. Simberg argues that this has been a mistake, and we must change if we are to continue to "boldly go" back to the Moon and Mars. Simberg makes a cogent argument that our focus on safety doesn't really increase safety but instead acts as a "barrier to entry" for new companies and protects the profits of large, politically connected "dyno-space" companies.

The Science and Futurism You-Tube Channel, hosted by Isaac Arthur - Focused on exploring concepts in science with an emphasis on futurism and space exploration, along with a healthy dose of science fiction, this channel explores many concepts and technologies that are far beyond us now, but tries to keep everything inside the bounds of known science or major theories. Arthur also maintains the amazing IsaacArthur .net.

The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada - A national alliance of professional science communicators who "cultivate excellence in science writing and science journalism" in an effort to increase public awareness of science in Canadian culture.

Sex and Rockets by John Carter (author) with an introduction by Robert Anton Wilson - For those of us who think rocket science is boring, here's the incredible but true story of scientist, poet, and self-proclaimed anti-christ, Jack Parsons, who co-founded the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), led the Agape Lodge of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) and even bore more than a passing resemblance to Iron Man's father. Scary, scary stuff...

Short History of Private Space Development by Clark S. Lindsey- Useful historical context from the person who edits both the long-running HobbySpace blog and the NewSpace Watch commercial site.

Small Satellites and their Regulation by Ram Jakhu and Joseph Pelton - This short interdisciplinary book covers the legal challenges relating to small-sats including technical standards, removal techniques or other methods that might help to address current problems. Also included are discussions of regulatory issues and procedures to ameliorate problems associated with small satellites, especially mounting levels of orbital debris and noncompliance with radio frequency and national licensing requirements, liabilities and export controls. Jakhu  the associate director of the Centre for Research of Air and Space Law at McGill University, was one of two authors of the February 17th, 2017 "Independent Review of the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act."

The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport - An overview of the billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program. Musk and Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen-are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, and send humans even further than NASA has gone.

Spaceport Earth: The Reinvention of Spaceflight by Joe Pappalardo - The Popular Mechanics editor covers the emergence of commercial spaceflight and discusses name-brand companies including Virgin Galactic SpaceX, Blue Origin and more appear in its pages. But the thrust of the book is the development of Florida's space coast, an area which Pappalardo argues has transformed from a space shuttle port to a commercial spaceflight hub in less than a decade.

Soviet Space Culture: Cosmic Enthusiasm in Socialist Countries by Eva MaurerJulia RichersCarmen Scheide & Monica Rüthers - An interesting historical examination of the Soviet space program as a unique cultural phenomenon, which united communism and religion to the utopian and atheistic during the period from the first Sputnik launch to the mid 1970's.

The Space Business Blog – A series of useful case studies on the economics of space based businesses, written by a Lockheed Martin financial analyst between 2010 and 2013.

The Space Library - A repository of primary resource materials (and quite a number of Commercial Space blog posts) from retired NASA astronauts and employees, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the British Interplanetary Society and others. Curated by Robert Godwin, the owner of Apogee Books, which has a number of other publications on this list.

The compilation of Space Law Documents for 2013 - Edited by P.J. Blount, an adjunct professor in air and space law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, who also edited the Res Communis Blog (which ran from 2007 until 2014), this three volume set covers state (volume one), federal (volume two) and international (volume three) documents of interest in this area. Now if only someone will bring this the documents up to date.

Space Mission Analysis and Design (SMAD) by James R Wertz and Wiley Larson - A textbook quality publication for engineering and space activities providing what you need to speak the language of space.

Space Prizes - From 2006 until 2015, this was the unofficial "publication of record" for tracking prizes related to space technology with listings, updates and status reports on 100's of international student, scientific and commercial contests. Currently inactive.

Space Vehicle Design Second Edition by Michael D Griffin and James R French - Described as ""the best, the most comprehensive, the most up-to-date resource for today's engineering challenges in space systems design."The second edition links and integrates many disciplines relevant to the field of space systems engineering and contains an additional chapter on reliability analysis, new technical material and numerous homework problems.

The Space Report Online – The “authoritative guide to international space activities” published by the Space Foundation, one of the world’s premier nonprofit organizations supporting space activities, education and space professionals. This online repository of data related to the worldwide space industry also contains copies of the annual 2006 - 2015 editions of the Space Report, the annual publication which serves as the basis of the current repository.

The Space Review - An online publication devoted to in-depth articles, commentary, and reviews regarding all aspects of space exploration: science, technology, policy, business, and more. Edited by Jeff Foust, an aerospace analyst who wrote the Space Politics blog from 2004 - 2014 and currently writes for SpaceNews.

Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada by J.H. Chapman, P.A. Forsyth, P.A. Lapp and G.N. Patterson – Canada is today an international leader in the fields of communications and remote sensing because of John Chapman (1921-1979) who was senior author of this report, written in 1967 and now known simply as the “Chapman Report.” It recommended using Canadian satellite and space technology for commercial activities such as communications and resource management instead of focusing only on scientific research. Over time, the report became “Canada’s Original Blueprint” for space activities and still contains lessons for policymakers today.

Venture Capital in the NewSpace Economy: Global trends and facts by Simone Spinelli and Nicola Sasanelli - A fascinating May 2017 report compiled by a South Australian Defence SA intern providing insight into "venture capital investments in the space industry for commercial activities in the so called NewSpace economy." Defence SA is "South Australia’s lead government agency for all defence matters and the nation’s only standalone state defence organisation."

Vision Restoration - A fascinating time capsule on NASA, ESA and America's past and future in space focused around the February 2004 NASA Vision for Space Exploration but full of lessons related to the current Space Launch System (SLS) debate and large, government funded space programs in general. Active from 2009 - 2014.

William Leitch: Presbyterian Scientist & the Concept of Rocket Spaceflight 1854-64 by Robert Godwin - In September 1861 Leitch wrote an essay called "A Journey Through Space" in which he proposed the idea that a rocket would be the most efficient way to travel outside the Earth's atmosphere. His idea would be forgotten and not be "rediscovered" by science for another three decades. This is his story.

Who Owns the Moon?: Extraterrestrial Aspects of Land and Mineral Resources Ownership by Virgiliu Pop - An investigation into the viability of property rights on the celestial bodies, particularly the extraterrestrial aspects of land and mineral resources ownership. In lay terms, it aims to find an answer to the question “Who owns the Moon?”

Why Where Matters: Understanding and Profiting from GPS, GIS and Remote Sensing by Bob Ryerson and Stan Aronof - A useful, highly readable primer on the business applications surrounding geomatics, the study of geographic and/or spatially referenced images which are used by various industries for planning and resource management. Vital background to understand the context surrounding the current Earth imaging boom.

A comprehensive listing of Worldwide Launch Schedules from Spaceflight Now - A regularly updated listing of planned missions and rocket launches around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time.

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