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Canadian Instrument Blasts into Space on Japanese Rocket

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2000

The Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) Thermal Suprathermal Analyzer (TSA) was successfully launched on December 4, 2000, from Sptizbergen, Norway onboard a Japanese sounding rocket on a scientific mission to learn more about the evolution of our atmosphere. This experiment continues a long collaboration between the CSA, Canadian scientists, and Japanese space researchers.

The TSA instrument is designed to analyze the complexities of ion composition and distribution in Earth's upper atmosphere. Measuring and understanding the behavior of the very lowest energy particles and gases is vital in understanding the origin and composition of plasma in the Earth's magnetosphere. Greater knowledge of the past and the evolution of the Earth atmosphere and ionosphere will help scientists discern the planet's history, and possibly its future.TSA was developed for the CSA at the Institute for Space Research at the University of Calgary under the leadership of Principal Investigator Dr. Andrew Yau and Project Engineer Peter King. The TSA is a newer version of the CSA-funded, Canadian-built Thermal Plasma Analyzer, currently headed for Mars onboard Japan's Nozomi spacecraft.

"Canadian Space Environment researchers are well respected internationally, as evidenced by Japan's invitation for Canadian participation in this mission," said Mr. Barry Wetter, Director General of the CSA's Space Science Program. "Such international collaboration is an important element of the Canadian Space Program."

Seven Japanese experiments and one from the United States accompanied the Canadian instrument on the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science SS520-2 rocket. Although the rocket flew to an altitude of about 1000 km, it did not orbit the earth, but "sounded" the ionosphere, from 200 km to 1000 km, during its 19-minute flight.

Established in 1989 and situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through its "Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development" business line, the CSA delivers seven service lines: Earth and the Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services; and, Comptrollership and Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

For more information:

Caroline Lavallée
Senior Communications Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: caroline.lavallee@space.gc.ca

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