In a move that took many by surprise, Steve MacLean, the president of the Canadian Space Agency, announced Tuesday he would resign at the end of the month to take a position at a new research institute. MacLean is leaving the CSA to take a position in a new venture in Waterloo, Ontatrio, created by Mike Lazaridis, the co-founder of RIM, a company best known for its BlackBerry line of smartphones. In this position, MacLean “will be leading a team pursuing breakthrough scientific Research and Development in the highly specialized field of Quantum Physics,” according to the CSA statement; quantum physics research is an area of particular interest to Lazaridis. MacLean’s departure apparently took many by surprise, with little advance notice or other hints that he planned to leave the space agency. MacLean, who has led the CSA since 2008, was one of Canada’s six original astronauts, and flew on two Space Shuttle missions in 1992 and 2006.