OTD: Canadian Space Agency formed

On today’s date in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was formed as a department under the Canadian Space Agency Act with Larkin Kerwin as the organization’s first president.

The act received royal assent on May 10, 1990, while the Governor-in-Council fixed the effective date as Dec. 14 of that year.

“The objectives of the Canadian Space Program (CSP) are to ensure the development and application of space science and technology to meet Canadian needs and to ensure the development of an international competitive space industry in Canada,” reads a 2006 performance report published by Maxime Bernier, then the minister of industry.


Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada will join a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) project to establish a space station for lunar exploration.

“Canada is going to the moon,” said Trudeau, who made the announcement at CSA headquarters in Montréal.

NASA is aiming to create what it calls a “Lunar Gateway,” which will orbit the moon once it’s fully functional in about 2026.

Left to right: Astronaut David Saint-Jacques; Royal Canadian Mint Board of Directors member John Bell; astronaut Jeremy Hansen; and Canadian Space Agency President Walter Natynczyk unveil the $20 Fine silver coin celebrating the agency’s 25th anniversary at the 2014 International Astronautics Congress in Toronto.


In 2014, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a $20 Fine silver coin marking the 25th anniversary of the CSA. The half-ounce silver coin features an achromatic hologram that brings the CSA’s work to life. The coin was unveiled at the International Astronautical Congress 2014 held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“Whether they are flying among the stars or planted firmly on the ground, the Mint takes great pride in commemorating Canada’s diverse and remarkable achievements,” said Marc Brûlé, then-interim president and CEO of the Mint. “This special coin features exceptional holographic technology which is a fitting tribute to the CSA, as it has been synonymous with innovation since 1989.”


The coin’s reverse design features an achromatic hologram of a Canadian astronaut floating weightlessly above Earth. The astronaut is anchored to a foot restraint on Canadarm2, which bears the Canada wordmark. In the distance, we see the cloud-mottled blue surface of Earth, backed by the black depths of space.

“This year marks a milestone in Canada’s space history as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CSA,” said General (Retired) Walter Natynczyk, then-president of the CSA. “Our many accomplishments have built the foundation for a flourishing space industry and we are absolutely delighted that the Mint has captured Canada’s leadership in space with such expert craftsmanship.”

This $20 Fine silver coin has a weight of 31.39 grams; a 38-mm diameter and a mintage of 10,000 coins.

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