21st Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering
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to the 21th annual
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The Wonders of Technology May 4-7, 2008
Sheraton Fallsview
Niagara Falls
Ontario, Canada

Keynote 2 - McNaughton Lecture: The Alouette Satellite Programme: An international milestone in Canadian science and engineering

Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Oakes North Ballroom

Presented by

Dr. Colin A. Franklin
2008 A.G.L. McNaughton Gold Medal Winner


With the launching of Canada’s first satellite Alouette 1 from Vandenberg Air Force base, California on 29 September, 1962 Canada became the third nation in the world, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to design and build a satellite. The Topside Sounder Alouett e 1 was an immense scientific and technological success. It was designated by the Centennial Engineering Board of Canada in 1987 as one of the ten most outstanding achievements in Canadian engineering in the past 100 years and in 2007 was designated an “event of national historic significance” by the government of Canada. For ten years it provided scientific data that greatly extended our knowledge of the ionosphere and the earth’s upper atmosphere. The success of Alouette 1 led to the creation of Telesat and the Canadian space industry and its expansion into Communications, Remote sensing, Robotics for the NASA Shuttle and Space Station, and Satellite Aided Search and Rescue. The fact that Alouette 1 performed so well and beyond all expectations gave Canada an international reputation for excellence in satellite design and engineering. This keynote describes the not well known origins of the program in the Department of National Defence, how the satellite was designed and its significance for the future of Canada in space. Rather than a detailed technical presentation it is more of a personal perspective from someone who was there from the beginning.

Presenter's Biography

COLIN FRANKLIN was born in New Zealand on 9 Dec 1927. Colin holds CM (Order of Canada), M.Sc (Physics-Auckland University), Ph.D (Electrical Engineering-Imperial College, London). He is a Fellow Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), Fellow City and Guilds Institute (FCGI), London. Senior Member IEEE. He was a Physics lecturer, Auckland University 1952. Defence Science officer Royal New Zealand Air Force 1953-59. Posted to the Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE), Ottawa in 1957. Colin Franklin was Chief Electrical Engineer for Canada’s first satellite Alouette. Chief Engineer for follow on ISIS satellite program and head of the Space Electronics Laboratory at DRTE. Project Manager for Hermes Communications Technology Satellite 1970-75. Produced the DOC report which led in 1978 to the signing of an Agreement for cooperation between Canada and the European Space Agency (ESA). Director General Space Programs Dept of Communications 1977-85. Visiting Professor, Auckland University 1987-90. Chief Scientist Spar Aerospace, Montreal 1990-92. Member National Forum on Climate Change 1998. He has won numerous awards including the Alouette Medal from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI); John H. Chapman award of excellence from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA); Julien C. Smith Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC); Pioneers in Technology Award on 50th anniversary of IEEE Ottawa Section.

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