Officials and dignitaries gather on campus at the University of Saskatchewan
Better prediction of extreme weather, disasters, thanks to new funding for USask space research. (Photo: David Stobbe)

Innovation Saskatchewan invests $600,000 in USask-led HAWC science mission through ISF program

Innovation Saskatchewan is investing $600,000 over three years through the Innovation and Science Fund (ISF) for a project supporting the HAWC (High-altitude Aerosol, Water vapor, and Cloud) satellite mission.

By Innovation Saskatchewan

HAWC is the Canadian Space Agency’s contribution to the Atmosphere Observing System (AOS) mission led by NASA slated to launch in 2031. ISF matches federal innovation funding dollars for projects from Saskatchewan universities, colleges and research institutes.

The program funding will help HAWC advance Canadian space science through the development of advanced technological space instruments. Co-led by a team of talented USask researchers, HAWC will deliver critical measurements to support extreme weather prediction, climate modelling and disaster monitoring. Further, it provides new data for scientists to better analyze, interpret and understand factors contributing to climate change.

This investment in HAWC not only recognizes the world-class research and scholarly work taking place at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), but also exponentially benefits the province. The project is a catalyst for economic growth, developing a mission-critical national data centre in Saskatchewan, providing advanced training and employment opportunities and creating intellectual property and local investment opportunities.

“The HAWC mission represents a monumental opportunity for Saskatchewan in expanding its expertise in cutting-edge space and satellite research and development and elevate the province’s reputation as a leader in aerospace technology,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Jeremy Harrison said. “The economic, advanced training and employment opportunities created through this project will provide a tremendous benefit to Saskatchewan people.”

The HAWC science team is a Canada-wide group of researchers comprising USask as the lead institution of a 14-university consortium, along with the Canadian Space Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the National Research Council Canada.project leaders Dr. Adam Bourassa and Dr. Doug Degenstein are from the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics in USask’s College of Arts and Science and are part of USask’s Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies (ISAS)

The HAWC mission consists of three cutting-edge climate science satellite instruments, of which two are designed by USask: ALI (Aerosol Limb Imager), a satellite imager for aerosol profiling, and SHOW (Spatial Heterodyne Observations of Water), a satellite imager for water vapor.

“The HAWC project highlights the contribution that USask is making in combating climate change on a global scale,” said President of the University of Saskatchewan, Peter Stoicheff. “We are grateful to Innovation Saskatchewan for contributing to a project that will no doubt advance research and innovation in this province, train highly qualified personnel and create new employment opportunities in the field of climate science.”

Innovation Saskatchewan has provided over $18 million in ISF funding for innovative projects at Saskatchewan institutions since 2018-19.

Read more at Innovation Saskatchewan.

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