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Communications satellites in Canadian security policy: History and prospects
International Journal  (IF0.836),  Pub Date : 2021-05-18, DOI: 10.1177/00207020211016476
Elinor Sloan

This article traces Canada’s early interest in space, before turning to its late 1960s decision to focus on a domestic, commercial/civilian communications satellite system in geostationary orbit and the subsequent decline in Canada’s military space efforts. It then highlights the wake-up call of the 1991 Gulf War, which demonstrated the critical importance of military communications satellites to future operations, and the steps Canada has taken to gain assured access to such satellites in the decades since. The final section outlines recent advances in low Earth orbit satellite communications (LEO satcom) and the ways in which these systems can address shortfalls in their geostationary cousins. Drawing reference to a new international security environment, it concludes that Canada should move expeditiously to incorporate LEO satcom into efforts to address the growing imperative of military satellite communications in the Canadian Arctic.