Monday, December 13, 2010

l'Agence Spatiale Canadienne


For the past few months, I've been updating my Pillownaut Space Map on the weekends, and on Mondays, blogging about whatever I've mapped. Canada was next on my list, and as their Constitution recognizes both English and French as official languages, I've included both. Far easier than Japanese or Russian, since I took four years of French lessons!

I have a few Canadian friends, because I'm huge into hockey, even to the point where I have flown to Canada *just* to see NHL games, no joke. I asked two of them (and I think it's no small coincidence that both of them asked not to be named in the blog) what they thought of their nations' space program, and if they "kept up" with space news.

Canadian Space Agency
One came right out and said, "Heather, if I didn't see your posts show up on my Facebook wall, I wouldn't know what was going on anywhere in the space industry."

The other quipped back in email, "We make fun of our own space program... I think it's partly because we are just shocked to find out we have one."

Of the nine Canadian astronauts who have flown in Shuttles, to Mir and to the ISS, they were able to name Robert Thirsk and Julie Payette, but no others... and it was news to the latter that Canada was the third nation to put a satellite into space after Russia and America.

As if to prove an appalling point, he directed me to a humor web site of "Photoshopping contests" where 19 entries poked fun at the Canadian Space Agency -- mostly to the tune of a Moon Zamboni, hockey puck, SCTV, and Molson Lager jokes. I debated for days whether to even link to this site, but perhaps a sense of humor, in the literal sense, is as good a starting point as any.

l'Agence Spatiale Canadienne
All jesting aside, I think the value of the Canadian-developed robotic arms and the many, many milestones of Canada's efforts in space science should absolutely not be devalued or overlooked.

I have nearly 30 national space agencies to go in my Space Map outline all over the world, and whether large or small, once this map is completed, we shall be able to see the power in the numbers.

l'Agence Spatiale Canadienne (ASC) or the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) sites include:

Centre spatial H.R. MacMillan or the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Centre spatial John H. Chapman or John H. Chapman Space Centre / CSA Headquarters (Saint-Hubert, Québec)

Laboratoire David-Florida or the David Florida Laboratory (Ottawa, Ontario)

ACS Bureau de liaison or the CSA Liaison Office (Ottawa, Ontario)