April 12, 1961 marked the beginning of humankind’s next adventure. Starting with Cosmonaut

Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight into outer space, we are now wrapping up fifty years of

accomplishments: from walking on the moon to creating a global network of communication

satellites, from completing the International Space Station to saying good-bye to the Space

Shuttle, and many other notable achievements. As for the next fifty years, who knows where

humankind will end up.

 

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Yuri’s Night, the Canadian Space Society paid

homage to this historic occasion by launching a local chapter in Ottawa. Although Ottawa

does not have the cache as Baikanour, Houston or even Montreal (home of the Canadian Space

Agency), it is still home to many distinguished Canadian Space experts. As such, the Ottawa

Chapter was proud to present a distinguished panel of speakers who tackled the Yuri-inspired

theme: “The Next 50 Years in Space”.

 

Before the panel had a chance to tackle questions about the future of Space, guests of the Ottawa

Chapter launch were greeted by members of Ottawa’s larger Space community, such as the

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Rocketry Club of Ottawa and Shumac (Human

Factors, Systems and Software Engineering). On display were familiar sights, such as amateur

rockets and telescopes.

 

The main highlight of the event was the panel discussion with distinguished and local members

of Ottawa’s Space community, who included Jack Rigley from Telesat, Dr. Alan Scott from

Com Dev, and Dr. Bob Ryerson from Kim Geomatics. In addition, Dr. Cameron Dickinson from

MDA, rounded out the panel as the non-Ottawa resident. Under the bright lights of the state of

the art auditorium in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the panellists delved into a lively

discussion on launchers, Mars exploration, Space tourism and satellites.

 

Members of the audience were able to ask questions which ranged from how we can predict

and prepare ourselves for solar flares to the intricacies of new propulsion systems. Overall, the

panellists challenged each other in a friendly way and questions from the audience highlighted

their passion and knowledge of Space issues. Overall, it was a successful night and we all owe it

to one Yuri Gagarin and his flight team for getting us started.

 

The Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Space Society would like to thank Telesat for sponsoring

the celebration of Yuri’s Night and the launch of the Ottawa chapter. Also, the Ottawa Chapter

would like to thank their gracious hosts, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

 

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