On February 28, 2019 a new policy announcement was made in Ottawa Canada that called for a re-orientation towards space exploration in partnership with NASA on an endeavor known as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) program.
This program was first announced at a Press conference in the morning with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accompanied by several fellow MPs and two young astronauts. The press conference also featured an inspired presentation by David St. Jacques, the French Canadian astronaut now working alongside American and Russian counterparts on the International Space Station who discussed the ultimate purpose of mankind as a species destined to explore deep space and therein discover our common identity. St Jacques stated:
“The International Space Station… is an example of what humanity can accomplish when we go beyond our differences and work together in peace for the benefit of all… I trained for years with people from around the world and what I realized is that the place we come from isn’t as important as the goal that brings us together- exploration and the advance of knowledge… Here on ISS we have been learning and gaining experience. Now building on what we learned we are getting ready to take the next step. Gateway will be an outpost where humans can live in lunar orbit, where we will learn to live even more autonomously from mother earth.”
The essentials of the program involve a pledge to spend $2 billion over 24 years towards the Lunar Gateway and while it will focus upon Canada’s specialization in Robotics, will have a much more wide ranging set of goals including service as a Science laboratory, a test site for new technologies, a meeting location for the exploration to the surface of the moon, mission control center for lunar operations and a future stepping stone for voyages to Mars.
Responding to the Press Conference, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine enthusiastically wrote:
“NASA is thrilled that Canada is the first international partner for the Gateway lunar outpost. Space exploration is in Canada’s DNA. In 1962, Canada became the third nation to launch a satellite into orbit with Alouette 1. Today, Canada leads the world in space-based robotic capabilities,