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Canada and Italy: Consolidating Cooperation in Earth Observation

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2005

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Longueuil, Quebec, June 6, 2005 – The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) today announced the signing of a long-term agreement to formalize continued cooperation in Earth observation.

The newly ratified agreement lays the groundwork for ongoing cooperation on projects and activities in which Canada and Italy have a common interest. In particular, it will enable joint programs for Earth observation to be set up, and encourage participation by the space agencies, private companies, and universities of the two countries.

"Canada–Italy cooperation in the exploration and use of space is not new," said Marc Garneau, CSA President. "For example, our Italian counterparts recently developed the structure or 'bus' for Canada's RADARSAT-2 satellite, helping to complete a project that will enhance Canada's international reputation for providing precise radar satellite data. I look forward to the many concrete economic, technological and scientific benefits we will derive from this agreement."

Representing ASI, President Sergio Vetrella said: "The agreement signed today is very important and strengthens cooperation in many space activities between our two countries. It is the first agreement of this type between Canada and Italy, and facilitates the pooling of scientific and technological expertise in Earth observation."

One of the first joint projects expected to follow from this comprehensive partnership is a joint feasibility study concerning the launch of a small Earth-observation satellite that could be put into orbit in 2009. This joint mission would advance the state of the art in hyperspectral imaging.

Canada and Italy are also assessing whether to extend the scientific partnership-in particular, to the development and validation of forecast models that would mitigate the effects of natural disasters. They are also considering taking advantage of technologies developed for Italy's Cosmo-Skymed and Canada's RADARSAT-2 satellite projects, among others.

About the Italian Space Agency

The Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) was established in 1988 to promote, coordinate, and conduct Italian space activities. Operating under the Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research, ASI has made Italy one of the primary spacefaring nations. Italy was the first European country—third in the world-to launch its own satellite. Italy's achievements are demonstrated by the close collaboration with NASA for Mars exploration and the International Space Station, and with the European Space Agency where it is the third contributor country.

Italy has been making important investments in space since the 1960s, so that it now has the scientific and industry experience levels for its production and research organizations to be leading players in space initiatives.

To face the challenges of global competition ASI operates:

  • on the forefronts of science and advanced technology
  • on advanced services initiatives and promotion in such fields as telecommunications, civil protection, defence, environmental monitoring and management of natural resources

ASI's mission is to work so that collective resources dedicated to space activities enhance the quality of life, improve the nation's security, strengthen services and essential infrastructure for a modern society and improve the competitiveness of industry systems and services.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 and with headquarters situated in Longueuil, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency is responsible for coordinating all civil, space-related policies and programs related to science and technology research, industrial development, and international cooperation on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Canadian Space Agency directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: Earth Observation, Space Science and Exploration, Satellite Communications, and Space Awareness and Learning. With the overall responsibility for advancing Canada's space policy and programs, the Canadian Space Agency leverages international cooperation to champion world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

For information:

Nicholas Girard
Media Relations Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: nicholas.girard@space.gc.ca

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