Canadian Space Agency (CSA): Annual Budget, Mission

The Canadian Space Agency is the national space agency of Canada, established in 1990 by the Canadian Space Agency Act. The agency reports to the federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.

Canadian Space Agency logo

The current president is Sylvain Laporte, who took the position March 9, 2015. The CSA's headquarters are located at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Longueuil, Quebec. The agency also has offices in Ottawa, Ontario, at the David Florida Laboratory, and small liaison offices in Houston; Washington, D.C.; and Paris.

Establishment of Canadian Space Agency


Key Description:

Founded: 1 March 1989

Annual Budget: 33.2 crores CAD (2018–2019)

Number of employees: 670

Jurisdiction: Canada

Minister Responsible: Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development

Agency Executives: Sylvain Laporte, President; Sarah  Gallagher, Science Advisor

Official Website

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The origins of the Canadian upper atmosphere and space program can be traced back to the end of the Second World War Between 1945 and 1960, Canada undertook a number of small launcher and satellite projects under the aegis of defence research, including the development of the Black Brant rocket as well as series of advanced studies examining both orbital rendezvous and re-entry.

In 1957, scientists and engineers at the Canadian Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) under the leadership of John H. Chapman embarked on a project initially known simply as S-27 or the Topside Sounder Project. This work would soon lead to the development of Canada's first satellite known as Alouette 1.

With the launch of Alouette 1 in September 1962, Canada became the third country to put an artificial satellite into space.

At the time, Canada only possessed upper atmospheric launch capabilities (sounding rockets), therefore, Alouette 1 was sent aloft by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California.

The technical excellence of the satellite, which lasted for ten years instead of the expected one, prompted the further study of the ionosphere with the joint Canadian-designed, U.S.-launched ISIS satellite program.

This undertaking was designated an International Milestone of Electrical Engineering by IEEE in 1993. The launch of Anik A-1 in 1972 made Canada the first country in the world to establish its own domestic geostationary communication satellite network.

These and other space-related activities in the 1980s compelled the Canadian government to promulgate the Canadian Space Agency Act, which established the Canadian Space Agency. The Act received royal assent on May 10, 1990, and came into force on December 14, 1990.

The mandate of the Canadian Space Agency is to promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians. The Canadian Space Agency's mission statement says that the agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

In 1999 the CSA was moved from project-based to "A-base" funding and given a fixed annual budget of $300 million. The actual budget varies from year to year due to additional earmarks and special projects. In 2009, Dr. Nicole Buckley was appointed Chief Scientist of Life Science.



  • 1989 – May 4, 1992—Larkin Kerwin
  • May 4, 1992 – July 15, 1994—Roland Doré
  • November 21, 1994 – 2001—William MacDonald Evans
  • November 22, 2001 – November 28, 2005—Marc Garneau
  • April 12, 2007 – December 31, 2007—Larry J. Boisvert
  • January 1, 2008 - September 2, 2008—Guy Bujold
  • September 2, 2008 – February 1, 2013—Steven MacLean
  • February 2, 2013 – August 5, 2013—Gilles Leclerc (interim)
  • August 6, 2013 – November 3, 2014—Walter Natynczyk
  • November 3, 2014 - March 9, 2015—Luc Brûlé, Interim since March 9, 2015—Sylvain Laporte


List of Canadian Astronauts:


Name Launch date Notes
Marc Garneau October 5, 1984 First Canadian in space
Roberta Bondar January 22, 1992 First Canadian woman in space
Steven MacLean October 22, 1992
Chris Hadfield November 12, 1995 Only Canadian to visit Mir
Marc Garneau May 19, 1996 First Canadian to return to space
Robert Thirsk June 20, 1996
Bjarni Tryggvason August 7, 1997
Dafydd Williams April 17, 1998
Julie Payette May 27, 1999 First Canadian to visit the International Space Station
Marc Garneau November 30, 2000 ISS mission. Return to space (third visit)
Chris Hadfield April 19, 2001 ISS mission. Return to space (second visit). First spacewalk by a Canadian
Steven MacLean September 9, 2006 ISS mission. Return to space (second visit); spacewalk
Dafydd Williams August 27, 2007 ISS mission. Return to space (second visit); spacewalk
Robert Thirsk May 27, 2009 ISS Expedition 20 and Expedition 21. Return to space (second visit). First flight on a Russian launch vehicle by a Canadian. First Canadian on a permanent ISS crew. First time two Canadians were in space simultaneously (with Payette)
Julie Payette July 15, 2009 ISS mission. First Canadian woman to return to space. First time two Canadians were in space simultaneously (with Thirsk). Largest gathering of humans in space, as seven STS-127 arrivals join 6 already on ISS. Largest gathering of nationalities in space, as USA, Russia, Japan, Canada, and Belgium have astronauts together on ISS. Last Canadian to fly on a US Space Shuttle.
Guy Laliberté September 30, 2009 First Canadian space tourist, visited ISS and returned aboard TMA-14.
Chris Hadfield December 19, 2012 ISS Expedition 34 and Expedition 35. Return to space (third visit). First Canadian commander of a spacecraft, first Canadian Commander of a permanent ISS crew.
David Saint-Jacques December 20, 2018 ISS Expedition 58 and Expedition 59.


List of Canadian Satellites:


Name Launched Retired Purpose
Alouette 1 September 29, 1962 1972 Ionosphere research
Alouette 2 November 29, 1965 August 1, 1975 Ionosphere research
ISIS 1 January 30, 1969 1990 Ionosphere research
ISIS 2 April 1, 1971 1990 Ionosphere research
Hermes January 17, 1976 November, 1979 Experimental communications satellite
RADARSAT-1 November 4, 1995 March 29, 2013 Commercial Earth observation satellite
MOST June 30, 2003 March, 2019 Space telescope
SCISAT-1 August 12, 2003 In service Earth observation satellite (atmosphere)
RADARSAT-2 December 14, 2007 In service Commercial Earth observation satellite
NEOSSat February 25, 2013 In service Monitoring of near-Earth objects[29]
Sapphire February 25, 2013 In service Military space surveillance[29][30]
BRITE February 25, 2013 In service Space telescope
CASSIOPE September 29, 2013 In service Ionosphere research, experimental telecommunications
M3MSat June 22, 2016 In service Communications satellite
RADARSAT Constellation June 12, 2019 In service Commercial Earth observation satellite


Canadian Space Program:

The Mobile Base System just before Canadarm2 installed it on the Mobile Transporter during STS-111
The Canadian space program is administered by the Canadian Space Agency.

Canada has contributed technology, expertise and personnel to the world space effort, especially in collaboration with ESA and NASA.

In addition to its astronauts and satellites, some of the most notable Canadian technological contributions to space exploration include the Canadarm on the Space Shuttle and Canadarm2 on the International Space Station.

Canada's contribution to the International Space Station is the $1.3 billion Mobile Servicing System. This consists of Canadarm2 (SSRMS), Dextre (SPDM), mobile base system (MBS) and multiple robotics workstations that together make up the Mobile Servicing System on the ISS.

The Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre all employ the Advanced Space Vision System, which allows more efficient use of the robotic arms.

Another Canadian technology of note is the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, which was an extension for the original Canadarm used to inspect the Space Shuttle's thermal protection system for damage while in orbit.

Before the Space Shuttle's retirement, the boom was modified for use with Canadarm2; STS-134 (the Space Shuttle program's penultimate mission) left it for use on the ISS.


Cooperation with the European Space Agency

The CSA has been a cooperating state of the European Space Agency (ESA) since the 1970s and has several formal and informal partnerships and collaborative programs with space agencies in other countries, such as NASA, ISRO, JAXA, and SNSA.

Canada's collaboration with Europe in space activities predated both the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

From 1968, Canada held observer status in the European Space Conference (ESC), a ministerial-level organization set up to determine future European space activities, and it continued in this limited role after ESA was created in 1975.

Since January 1, 1979, Canada has had the special status of a "Cooperating State" with the ESA, paying for the privilege and also investing in working time and providing scientific instruments that are placed on ESA probes. Canada is allowed to participate in optional programs; it also has to contribute to the General Budget but not as much as associate membership entail. This status was unique at the time and remains so today.