Thank you very much.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you virtually. I hope that each of you and also your families are doing well.
I joined the Canadian Space Agency, or CSA, in September of this year. A lawyer by profession for almost the past three decades, I've worked in both public and private sectors. I have experience in the areas of competition enforcement, data regulation and procurement, among others.
I'm joined today by my colleagues, Luc Brûlé, vice-president, science and technology, and Mary Preville, acting vice-president, space program policy.
If you will bear with me, I'll just change the language for the interpreters.
The CSA has accomplished extraordinary things, and we believe that the space sector can contribute enormously to Canada's economic renewal during these unprecedented times.
The CSA's work focuses on three areas.
First, and perhaps most visible, are activities in space exploration. We lead Canada's participation on the International Space Station, the Canadian astronaut program, and scientific missions to explore our solar system.
Second is a growing area of investment and interest worldwide, which is the rich data from earth-observation satellites that help us understand our planet, how to manage our natural resources and more. Increasingly, we can maximize high-quality space data to serve and protect Canadians and spur innovation and economic development. The speed of commercial satellite deployment, implementation of faster communication technologies and onset of interplanetary missions are augmenting the role of data in space industries. Our RADARSAT constellation mission is part of this trend. Its three-satellite configuration provides data for climate research, security and commercial applications. Unlocking the power of this data is vital to Canada's competitiveness globally.
Third, we work to support science and technology in a multitude of areas, including optics, health, robotics, satellite communications and radar. We're growing this innovative sector in Canada and preparing for new missions.
In 2019, the government launched a new space strategy for Canada: exploration, imagination and innovation. With the brilliant CSA team, we're advancing the space program in Canada and, internationally, positioning our domestic space industry for success. The return on investment in space is massive, and it's a growth sector. In the next 20 years, the global space economy will nearly triple in size, reaching a trillion dollars. At the CSA, we're committed to positioning Canadian researchers, entrepreneurs and investors to seize their share of this new, emerging global market. We want to help them contribute to the global economic recovery, while continuing to secure socioeconomic benefits here at home.
In recent months, we've been doing extensive outreach with industry, academia and international counterparts. We've participated in international conferences of the G20 space community and the International Astronautical Congress. Like the rest of the world, we're gearing up for exciting missions to the moon and beyond.
We're proud to have secured Canada's participation in the next large-scale international space collaboration—the lunar gateway program—by contributing our Canadarm3. We're also among eight nations to sign the Artemis Accords a few weeks ago, which we believe will help create a transparent environment for space exploration, science and commercial space activities. We're continuing to support cutting-edge space-exploration technologies, such as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, health and more, which will be demonstrated on future missions to the lunar surface.
These investments have allowed Canada to play critical roles on internationally led missions, such as OSIRIS-REx, which some of you may have seen in the news recently. We just collected a sample from the surface of an asteroid. Canada's crucial contribution was recognized worldwide, with our expertise ensuring the success of the mission.
In a country as vast as ours, observing earth from space helps us support Canadians, exercise sovereignty and manage our natural resources. Advances in machine learning, big-data analytics and data integration techniques are revolutionizing the field of earth observation at a time when there is more demand for detailed information about our planet.
We are daring to imagine a future where Canadians across the country, from any sector, have unlimited access to easy-to-use digital platforms; where data is turned into information to, for example, issue advance warning for air quality and disaster management; where cities can plan greener infrastructure projects more efficiently; where regulators or industry can detect infrastructure failures; and where farmers can visualize crop conditions and crop yields, predicting market pricing and perhaps leading to better management for anticipated transportation bottlenecks.
Today we have elements of this vision in place. Our experience with the RADARSAT program, which today is capturing 250,000 radar images of the earth, means we have a great base on which to grow. We'll equip Canada with the data and analytical tools needed for the future.
Like sectors across the planet, the space sector has been impacted by COVID-19 and the measures needed to contain the pandemic. We've reprioritized some of our activities and funding to ensure that industry and academia can continue to innovate and seize opportunities.
Since March, we've doubled short-term financial investments in our science and technology programs, representing an increase of $25 million over existing plans pre-pandemic and a total investment of $52 million over 2 years.
These efforts will benefit up to 90 projects in large, medium and small companies, as well as 12 universities from coast to coast. It will advance promising space technology, and support R and D and the development of innovative concepts, helping develop talent and positioning the sector for success.
Space exploration technologies are at the epicentre of scientific development. Among the many motivations for space exploration, advancing scientific knowledge and understanding is increasingly crucial for our society. Intrinsic value flows from it, and space science is a rich avenue because of the challenges it poses, forcing us to look up and out in completely novel ways. Increasing access to space innovation and research with the new environments and situations, the vast unknowns, that space offers stress tests our systems and beliefs.
Improvements in science inevitably lead to progress in other areas, and as we start employing them wherever science gets used, it generates public good and creates new industries.
I see the time signal. Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Through space exploration, we better understand ourselves, our planet and our universe.
Thank you for your time.