With the launch of Alouette 1 in 1962 Canada became the third country to put a man-made satellite into space. The mission was successful beyond expectations, for although it was scheduled to proceed for one year, it in fact lasted for ten. This prompted further study of the ionosphere with the international ISIS program, which in 1993 was designated an International Milestone of Electrical Engineering by IEEE. It should be noted, however, that Canada has never had any domestic launch capabilities of its own. While Alouette 1 was entirely built and funded by Canada, it was launched by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from Vandenberg AFB in California. Another Canadian first was the launch of Anik A-1 in 1972, making Canada the first country in the world to have its own domestic geostationary communication satellite network.
The Canadian Space Program is also administered by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Canada has contributed technology, expertise and personnel to the world space effort, especially in collaboration with NASA and the ESA. Astronaut Steven MacLean is Chief Astronaut of CSA.
In addition to its astronauts, some of the most notable Canadian technological contributions to space exploration are the Canadarm on the Space Shuttle as well as the Canadarm2 and the rest of the Mobile Servicing System on the International Space Station. The Canadarm and Canadarm2 are assisted by the Advanced Space Vision System which allows more efficient use of the robotic arms. Another example is the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, which is an extension of the Canadarm used to inspect the Space Shuttle's thermal Protection System for damage while in orbit.
With the successful launching of Radarsat 2 in December 2007 and near completion of Canada's C$1.4 billion contribution to the ISS the agency in early 2008 finds itself with no major follow on projects. This fact has been highlighted by Marc Garneau, Canada's first astronaut and former head of the CSA who in the fall of 2007 called upon the Canadian government to develop and institute a space policy for Canada.
See also: Space Shuttle (NASA), Space Shuttle Buran (Soviet)
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