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Canada has the technological ability to build its own rocket to launch small satellites, which is a top priority for future research at the Defence Department and a capability being studied at the Canadian Space Agency.

Canada now relies on other countries—such as the United States, India and Russia—to launch its spacecraft into orbit, but both the Defence Department and the space agency are considering building a Canadian-made launcher.

DND’s science organization, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is examining what might be needed for a small rocket as well as different possible mission scenarios that could be undertaken.

The Canadian Space Agency’s domestic launch capability would consist of satellites of about 150-kilograms in weight. Professor Robert Zee (UTIAS), who heads the University of Toronto’s Space Flight Laboratory, has said that Canada is more than capable of building a rocket to put small spacecraft into orbit.

“As to whether it would have sufficient political backing to see it all the way through to completion, that’s another thing,” he explained. “There are some strong voices at CSA and also at Defence R and D Canada that are really interested in seeing it happen.”

CSA officials have said that a full-scale project to design and build a launcher could take between 10 and 12 years.


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