re: U.S. Refuses to Launch Canadian Satellite

Philip Chien (
Mon, 1 Mar 1999 05:44:50 -0500 forwared a Canadian news story -



>Canada seeking satellite launcher after U.S. rebuff
>TORONTO --  Canada is shopping around for a launch pad now that U.S.
>officials have said they won't fire a Canadian-made satellite into space
>because it could be used to snoop on Americans.

>"We'll launch it," Industry Minister John Manley said in an interview
>yesterday. "Launching a satellite is not a difficult thing. There's lots
>of ways to get satellites launched."

The satellite in question is Radarsat-2 currently under construction.

And it's a rather absurd conclusion in this story, or for that matter the
entire situation.

If - for some reason - the U.S. chose not to launch this satellite then
Canada could go to the effort to try to find another country who is willing
to provide the launch services for free in exchange for the access to the
data (basically the same deal as NASA).  So France, China, Japan, Russia,
or some other country would benefit from access to Radarsat's data - and
Radarsat could still take all of the images it wanted to over the U.S.

So the net result would be less science for U.S. scientists, more data for
another country, and the same national security issues.  Boeing, which
built the Delta originally planned for Radarsat, would probably still get
paid most of its fees and NASA would have an additional launch vehicle in
its inventory for some future project.

The more likely solution is to retain the current situation (U.S. launch
vehicle -- Canadian satellite) with provisions for how the data over
sensitive areas (U.S. areas of strategic concern, Israel, etc.) would be

The U.S. is gradually realizing that the superpowers no longer have any
exclusive access to high resolution imagery.  And gradually accepting their

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.