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Space agency closes key research lab on International Space Station and Canadarm | Radio-Canada News

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Two people in lab coats sit at a desk next to a large piece of space technology being tested.
A replacement robotic hand for the Canadarm2 tested at the David Florida laboratory in Ottawa in 2015. The Canadian Space Agency says the laboratory can perform tests ranging from –25 to 60°C. (Canadian Space Agency)

The Canadian Space Agency has confirmed that a spacecraft laboratory west of Ottawa that it calls “Canada’s national facility for spacecraft assembly (and) integration” will close its operations. doors at the end of March 2025.

The David Florida Laboratory officially opened in 1972 in the Shirley’s Bay complex, off Carling Avenue.

It is one of the few complexes in the world capable of simulating the conditions of a rocket launch and space flight, according to the agency. It also does work on antennas that is not done anywhere else.

Working on the Canadarm and the guidance sensor for the James Webb Space Telescope was carried out there, and the laboratory continues to provide “ongoing support for Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station program.”

The facility also had space available for rental to other businesses and organizations.

The “achievements” section of the laboratory website lists 41 victories over 50 years on topics such as tracking asteroids, communications technologies for Japan and Spain, life on Mars, and monitoring changes in Earth’s surface waters.

A black and brown building with a large black hanger type space.
The laboratory, seen here in 2005, is part of the Shirley’s Bay complex, west of Ottawa. (Communications Research Center Canada)

Responding to an email from CBC on Friday, a spokesperson for the space agency said the lab is scheduled to close on March 31, 2025, after several months of closure.

“The Canadian Space Agency remains committed to working closely with industry to help unlock the full potential of the Canadian space sector and meet the realities of the new and growing space market,” they said.

They declined an interview request.

The laboratory is named for C. David Florida who worked on experimental communications satellites and was director of Canada’s National Telecommunications Space Laboratory when he died in 1971.

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