When the first Canadian astronaut to blast off on NASA’s next Artemis mission to the moon, he or she will do so with a new symbol of Canada’s efforts in space.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) unveiled a new logo on Thursday (March 16). (opens in new tab) to represent the growing role of the country’s space program.
“An exciting era of space exploration is unfolding before us, and CSA is seeking to begin this new chapter with a modern signature,” the agency said in a statement (opens in new tab). “The Canadian Space Agency is modernizing its visual identity with a new, simplified logo.”
Related: Everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis program
The new brand has two main elements.
Above is the maple leaf, Canada’s national emblem. According to the CSA, the leaf inspires “pride and a sense of belonging,” in addition to its association with the country, as is well known around the world.
The maple leaf also gives the impression of taking off.
It symbolizes “daring inventions and our gaze toward the future, poised to push the boundaries of ingenuity and innovation,” according to CSA’s description.
The maple leaf is followed by three stars which, in its most basic interpretation, are a representation of outer space. The stars are also meant to convey brilliance, intelligence and expertise, as well as the strength of the community that includes everyone involved in Canada’s space program, including industry, scientists, academia and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) organizations. .
A circular version of the logo also includes the agency’s full, spelled out name, wrapped in English at the top and French at the bottom (“Agence Spatiale Canadienne”).
In 2019, CSA entered into a new agreement to support the development of Gateway, a human-powered research and logistics platform in lunar orbit. For their part, CSA and its industrial partners are developing a new robotic system that will help repair and maintain the moon’s first mini space station.
The new arm, dubbed “Canadarm3,” builds on Canada’s legacy of providing the original Canadarm for the Space Shuttle and Canadarm2, which is still in use on the International Space Station.
CSA is also developing the country’s first robotic lunar rover, which will work with NASA to help the international search for water ice in the lunar soil.
In return for these contributions, NASA reserved a seat for a CSA astronaut (opens in new tab) on its first manned mission in more than 50 years to orbit the moon. The identities of the Artemis 2 crew members will be announced April 3 during an event at NASA’s Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“Just over the moon to see Canada as the only partner flying with NASA on this historic first mission,” wrote Joshua Kurtyk, one of CSA’s four active astronauts eligible to sit on Artemis 2, in a social -Media post . “Our unique innovative, exploratory and pioneering spirit at work and a direct link to Canada’s future prosperity and security.”
CSA’s new logo replaces an earlier design first introduced on November 4, 1996. The now-retired sign also featured a maple leaf, but instead of leading away from the emblem, it was positioned beneath a stylized horizon, with the sun’s rays radiating from behind, and a vector extending to a four-pointed star (in the same style as the new logo) . In place of the full name, the Canadian Space Agency’s English and French acronyms (“CSA” and “ASC”) appeared in italics below the maple leaf.
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