the aftermath of the attempted acquisition of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates’ (MDA) space unit by American company ATK, a deal that was eventually blocked by the Canadian government. Shortly after that a Canadian think tank, the Rideau Institute, issued a white paper on Canadian space policy calling for, among other things, the appointment of a permanent president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the formulation of a national space policy.
Yesterday the Rideau Institute released a 2009 version of its assessment of Canada’s space sector, and saw signs of improvement. Plans by the Canadian goverment to add C$110 million to CSA’s budget over the next three years, as well as the appointment last fall of Steve MacLean as CSA’s new president, are favorably assessed in the report, as is an ongoing effort to develop a strategic plan for the space agency. The report adds that despite the current recession “observers of the Canadian space sector are optimistic about the year ahead.” However, the report notes that “the underlying problems affecting the agency [CSA] have remained largely unsolved” and that they are no closer to a government-wide space policy desired by many in the Canadian space field.