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The Department of National Defence (Canada) Formalizes International Space Partnership

Press Release From: Canada Department of Defence
Posted: Monday, September 22, 2014

Today, the Department of National Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct space operations with the defence departments of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Combined Space Operations Initiative formalizes an existing partnership between our respective armed forces. This initiative enables the sharing of space-related information and resources. This will assist Canada and our allies to more effectively cooperate on activities such as identifying and understanding space objects, ensuring uninterrupted satellite operations, and avoiding satellite collisions.

Cooperation in space is important given Canada’s extensive military and civilian use of space-based capabilities. The Canadian Armed Forces rely on space for a wide-range of functions such as command and control, weather information, navigation, communications, mapping, and search and rescue.

Quick Facts

- The information shared through this international space partnership will help Canada and our allies in several areas of mutual international interest. These include data on satellite orbits (which will help prevent collisions), accuracy of GPS signals, methods to prevent interference with satellite communications, and space weather.

- The partnership demonstrates the continued dedication and strong commitment of the partners to encouraging the responsible and peaceful use of space for all.

- By working with our closest allies, we can leverage key Canadian contributions, while accessing other capabilities. This will help avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts, allowing us to make the best use of taxpayer money.

- The initiative builds on several recent CAF space projects that have benefited from international cooperation, including:

-- Sapphire: Canada’s first dedicated operational military satellite, Sapphire detects manmade objects in orbit, and transmits data to the U.S.-led Space Surveillance Catalogue dedicated to preventing satellite collisions.

-- Wideband Global SATCOM: Led by the U. S., this program provides guaranteed, secure access to high-capacity frequencies for government communications. As costs are shared among seven partner nations, this program allows the CAF to economically meet its need for strategic satellite communications.

-- Protected Military SATCOM project: This program will provide near-worldwide, secure, survivable, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. Program goals will be achieved through participation in the U.S.-led Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite system.

-- Multi-National Experiments: This is a concept development and experimentation project jointly undertaken every two years by the defence and security research communities of 17 countries. In the most recent experimental series, CAF officers led the development of an international concept for risk mitigation in space.

Quotes

“Canada has been a space-faring nation for more than half a century, and in that time the space environment has become a more crowded and complex environment in which to operate. By extending our cooperation with our closest allies, we can share our expertise, solve common problems, and ensure defence dollars are spent to maximum effect.”

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence

“The partnership announced today will help the Canadian Armed Forces to continue improving its use of space capabilities and protecting our critical space assets. Just as we work closely with our allies on land, sea, and in the air, so too should we combine our operations in space.”

Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault, Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff

“Partnering with our Defence allies on combined space operations makes sense. The information shared will help us in areas of mutual interest, including Space Situational Awareness, planning for space events, and collaborating on space capabilities to maintain the strategic advantage that space provides."

Brigadier-General Michel Lalumière, Director General Space

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