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2002 December Report of the Auditor General of Canada Appendix A—Space Station program—A brief history

2002 December Report of the Auditor General of Canada

December 2002 Report—Chapter 7

Appendix A—Space Station program—A brief history

In January 1984, the President of the United States directed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop and place in orbit within a decade a permanently manned space station, and invited friends and allies, including Canada, to participate in its development and use. By April 1986, Canada had confirmed to NASA its intention to participate in the International Space Station (ISS) program and had decided what its contribution would be.

In May 1988, Canada signed a formal agreement with the United States, member states of the European Space Agency, and Japan to participate in the ISS program. Each partner is required to build, operate, and maintain the equipment it contributes to the space station, and to pay a share of the common system operating costs. Canada committed to contributing the design, construction, and operation of a Mobile Servicing System.

In February 1990, the Treasury Board approved the funding of a major Crown project that included all activities to discharge Canada's obligations under its intergovernmental agreement. The initial project cost approved was $1.114 billion with a completion target of 2000, which was to include completion of the on-orbit assembly of the Mobile Servicing System and one year of initial operational verification. Canada would have ongoing operating and maintenance costs beyond the major Crown project for the 10-year planned life of the space station.

In 1994, the Russian Federation joined the ISS program. Also in 1994, domestic fiscal pressures led Canada to renegotiate its contributions to the ISS. However, this decision was revisited; in 1998 Canada signed an agreement to bring its commitment to $1.22 billion and extend the completion date of the Mobile Servicing System to 2001-02. In return, Canada has the right to use up to 2.3 percent of the space station's capabilities to conduct scientific and technological research.

The first two elements of the ISS were launched in November 1998 (Russian Zarya) and December 1998 (U.S. Unity). Slippage in the ISS assembly schedule in 1998 and 1999 meant further adjustments to the schedule and added to the costs of Canada's contribution. In February 2000, the Treasury Board approved a revised budget of $1.25 billion for the project and set a new target for completion in 2004-05.

In April 2001, Canada's first contribution to the ISS, the Canadarm2 (or Space Station Remote Manipulator System) was launched successfully. In June 2002, Canada's second contribution, the Mobile Base System, was also launched.

In 1984 the total cost of the ISS was estimated at about US$11 billion. By 2002 the cost had grown to about US$30 billion, with US$13 billion of that increase and a four-year slippage in schedules since 1995. Canada's contribution to the ISS is currently estimated to cost CAN$1.4 billion.