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Proceedings Paper

Space astronomy and astrophysics program by CSA
Author(s): Denis Laurin; Alain Ouellet; Jean Dupuis; Ruth-Ann Chicoine
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Paper Abstract

Canada became actively engaged in space astronomy in the 1990s by contributing two fine guidance sensors to the FUSE Far-UV mission (NASA 1999-2008). In the same period, Canada contributed to ODIN’s infrared instrument (ESA 2001-2006) and correlators for VSOP (JAXA 1997-2005). In early 2000, Canada developed its own space telescope, Micro-variability and Observations of STars (MOST), a 15-cm telescope on a microsatellite, operating since 2003, and more recently contributed to the realization of the BRITE nanosatellites constellation. Canada also provided hardware to the European Space Agency’s Herschel HIFI instrument and simulators to the SPIRE instrument and data analysis tools for Planck. More recently the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) delivered detector units for the UVIT instrument on board the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) ASTROSAT. The CSA’s most important contribution to a space astronomy mission to date is the Fine Guidance Senor (FGS) and Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The CSA is currently building the laser metrology system for JAXA’s ASTRO-H hard X-ray telescope. Canadian astronomers contributed to several high profile stratospheric balloon projects investigating the CMB and the CSA recently established a balloon launch facility. As expressed in Canada’s new Space Policy Framework announced in February 2014, Canada remains committed to future space exploration endeavors. The policy aims at ensure that Canada is a sought-after partner in the international space exploration missions that serve Canada’s national interests; and continuing to invest in the development of Canadian contributions in the form of advanced systems and optical instruments. In the longer term, through consultations and in keeping the Canadian astronomical community’s proposed Long Range Plan, the CSA is exploring possibilities to contributions to important missions such as WFIRST, SPICA and Athena and in other areas, by initiating concept and pre-mission studies and enabling technology developments. These reflect the following scientific priorities identified: dark energy and the accelerating universe, addressed by large survey missions; high-energy astrophysics, which includes UV and X-ray missions; and the understanding of star formation and proto-planetary systems and to begin characterizing exoplanets, mainly by infra-red space observatories.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 July 2014
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9144, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 91440W (24 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2062206
Show Author Affiliations
Denis Laurin, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)
Alain Ouellet, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)
Jean Dupuis, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)
Ruth-Ann Chicoine, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9144:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Tadayuki Takahashi; Jan-Willem A. den Herder; Mark Bautz, Editor(s)

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