Sunday, March 27, 2016

Space industry gets attention and money in government’s first budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau brought down his first budget on March 22, 2016, and it looks like the government has noticed the space industry after all.

Don't get too excited—they aren't throwing a ton of money at the industry, but there is a little more than there was before. Even better, the government is saying that they want to develop the space industry’s capabilities. You can read the section about space in the budget here.

Highlights include
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) plans to spend $432,394,821 in 2016, a difference of about $49 million more than projected from 2015 ($383,015,746).

The government is also providing $8.7 million for CSA projects, including the anechoic testing chamber at the David Florida Laboratory, as part of the federal infrastructure initiative. This is noted in the budget section Supporting business innovation through optics and photonics solutions.

For more details, see the article at SpaceRef Canada, What you need to know about the budget and Canada's space program.

In a related news article at the Toronto Star, New innovation agenda will help boost jobs, Bill Morneau says, Minister Morneau talked about a new innovation agenda that the government is developing. The focus of the article is on manufacturing and the high-tech industry, but space companies could benefit. (What’s more high-tech than space?)

The 2016 budget should give the space industry more reason for optimism than the remarks made by Canadian Space Agency President Sylvain Laporte at a recent conference in Toronto. Mr. Laporte said there were lots of opportunities in space but not a lot of money.

All in all, it looks a little more positive for the Canadian space industry than it did before, especially considering how tight money is due to the country’s deficit. The real test, though, will be whether or not the government builds on the promise to develop Canada’s space capabilities.