Space science and aerospace geomatics

Artist conception of three Swarm satellites in orbitAlberta has over 25% of Canada’s geomatics, navigation and positioning firms, employing 7,300 employees, although a number of these companies are using ground-based geomatics techniques. Space related products and parts account for $200 million in revenue, of which 75% is exported to the United States and Europe. Between the universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge, the collective provincial expertise in the areas of space physics, space instrumentation, imaging, and space materials is unmatched by any other jurisdiction in Canada.

University researchers serve as mission scientists for many of the Canadian Space Agency’s core programs, as well as for current and future missions scheduled by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency, the Japanese Space Agency, and the Brazilian Space Agency. Alberta’s universities account for almost 50% of the national Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funding for the study of space science. These Alberta organizations employ highly qualified and skilled people to produce products and services to a segment that uses satellite and near-space technology.

This niche has significant growth potential as the Canadian Space Agency sets its course for the future and looks for strategic partners across the country. Internationally, space exploration and use of earth orbiters is increasing.

As militaries become more “information hungry” for real-time imagery, oil and gas companies continue their northern exploration, government and forestry companies require updated information on the state of our forest ecosystems, and the opening of the Arctic’s waterways creates new navigational challenges, this Alberta niche will grow in academia and industry.

To learn more about Alberta's space industry, see: