Our own Dr. Yaroslav Pustovyi was a judge at last month's Launch Canada event—the first Canadian annual industry-partnered student experimental rocketry competition that encourages the development and demonstration of Canadian talent in rocket and launch vehicle technologies.
In his keynote entitled The Future of Space in Canada, Pustovyi made a distinction between the space race of the cold war and the exponentially booming industry of today. 'Old space', as he described it, was driven by big government programs and an existential race for survival. It was an at-any-cost competition that made space the singular domain of political nations.
Now that the cold war has ended, all the expertise that had been nurtured is turning to a free market model. This is 'newspace', as he calls it—where we are now.
At Launch Canada, engineering students hone the kind of advanced skills we're excited to see. These are the people we'll need at Spaceport Nova Scotia, and the enthusiasm we celebrate across Canada's space industry. At Launch Canada, the prize purse is awarded across three categories:
- BEGINNER LAUNCH CHALLENGE
Less experienced teams build expertise by designing and launching a rocket to 10,000 feet. Off-the-shelf 'hobby' rocket motors are permitted. Points are awarded for getting a useful payload to the target altitude.
- SUBSYSTEM DESIGN CHALLENGE
With a 'science fair' approach, teams develop, demonstrate, and pitch the business case for sophisticated components or subsystems with emphasis on entrepreneurialism.
- ADVANCED LAUNCH CHALLENGE
Students develop propulsion systems for high-altitude rockets, incentivizing for innovative systems engineering and reusable launch vehicle technologies.
Canadians are eager to play a role in the global space industry. But when faced with a lack of support at home, they may have no choice but to either abandon this passion, or leave the country to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
With the enthusiasm, talent and ingenuity that these Canadian rocketeers so consistently demonstrate, it is strongly in Canada’s interest to encourage them and facilitate their activities in our own country.
—Launch Canada Challenge
Dr. Pustovyi, a NASA-trained astronaut of the National Space Agency of Ukraine, also shared a video message from our Ukrainian partners to the Launch Canada students.
Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash are notable in Europe and throughout the world for their 65-year history and deep experience in rocket development, having built some of the world's first reliable vehicles, earth remote-sensing satellites, liquid rocket engines, and solid rocket motors.
"You are the future of space exploration," said Maksym Degtiarov, Yuzhnoye's General Designer & Director, in the video message. "The advancement of the Canadian space industry is in your hands."
"The Launch Canada Challenge gathers students to share in cherishing a dream of exploration," added Oleksiy Velmogin, Lead Designer. "It's a chance to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and to declare yourselves as promising specialists who are part of our global space community."
In his keynote talk as the judging got underway, Pustovyi echoed the spirit and enthusiasm of our partners.
"The future of space in Canada is you," he concluded. "Where do you see yourself? Where are you going to put your efforts? Are you going to build rockets? Will you build satellites or data processors? It's up to you. Only you can give us the answer of how newspace in Canada will take shape. Keep pushing. Be persistent and you will conquer the stars."