Two newest astronauts moonstruck as Canada looks beyond space station

first_imgMONTREAL – It’s a far-out dream that Canada’s two newest astronauts are hoping will come true: orbiting the moon within the next decade or so.In fact, Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey are already looking beyond the International Space Station as they begin two years of intense basic training.In an interview from Houston on Tuesday, Kutryk pointed out that Canada is committed to the space station until 2024 along with its international partners.But the 35-year-old Albertan said the plan for what will happen after is already starting to be defined.“We don’t have the details ironed out but we know that it’s going to involve new destinations, probably the moon and then Mars,” said Kutryk, adding he expects Canada to seek out and play a large role.“I think that we’re living in a lifetime now when we see humans, including Canadian humans, potentially going back to the moon and that’s just a super exciting thing for me to think about.”Kutryk told The Canadian Press he would like to be selected for a mission on the space station or a moon exploration mission.“That’s to be determined but I do feel a lot of excitement for the Canadian space program in general,” he said.Sidey, who will be training alongside Kutryk, said travelling around the moon, in so-called cislunar orbit, is on her agenda.“Certainly, I’m definitely in for the idea of deep space (and) longer space flights, kind of pushing what we can do,” she said.“Cislunar for us is going to be incredibly important as a gateway to put people in orbit and eventually go back to the moon.”The 29-year-old Calgary-born astronaut was asked about her chances of orbiting the moon in the coming decades.Her response was: “Who knows, who knows, but I’d love that… who wouldn’t, huh.”But the focus over the next two years will be on understanding various things, including systems on the space station, human behaviour, robotics and survival training.They will also learn Russian.“We’re going to be juggling all sorts of subjects and they’re all very different and they’re all very important (and) keeping all those balls in the air at once is going to be tough,” Sidey said.Kutryk, a test pilot, admitted that learning Russian will be a tough test, noting it took him about 25 years to be comfortable in French.“Based on that experience, and when I look at the idea of learning a third language in two years, that’s something that’s definitely going to be challenging,” he said.On Tuesday, Kutryk and Sidey also joined a dozen American trainees in a link-up with three astronauts now on board the International Space Station.Flight engineer Peggy Whitson, 57, who is on her third long-duration space station mission, had some advice for the group: know how to fix things.“You need to get good at using tools,” Whitson said as she floated inside the space station. “That’ll be an important part of your training, so pay attention to that part of it.“So you can’t be hesitant about taking something apart and putting it back together, because that’s a lot of our job.”last_img read more

Security agencies warn industry of foreign espionage threat to networks

first_imgOTTAWA — Canadian companies should watch out when they use technology supplied by state-owned companies from countries that want to steal corporate secrets, the country’s security agencies have warned them.The RCMP organized two workshops last March — one in Calgary, the other in Toronto — to raise awareness about threats to critical systems, including espionage and foreign interference, cyberattacks, terrorism and sabotage, newly disclosed documents show.Canadian Security Intelligence Service materials prepared for the workshops advise that “non-likeminded countries,” state-owned enterprises and affiliated companies are engaged in a global pursuit of technology and know-how driven by economic and military ambitions.The materials were released to The Canadian Press in response to an access-to-information request.The heavily censored records do not go into detail about specific countries. But the presentation does include a passage from a 2017 U.S. government report saying competitors such as China steal American intellectual property valued at hundreds of billions of dollars every year.In addition, CSIS openly warned in 2016 that Russia and China were targeting Canada’s classified information and advanced technology, as well as government officials and systems.The presentations to industry dissected techniques used by adversaries and offered advice on protecting confidential information and assets. The intelligence community’s concerns emerge as Canada considers allowing Chinese firm Huawei Technologies to take part in developing a 5G telecommunications network.Former security officials in Canada and two members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have warned against such a move, saying the company’s ties to Beijing could compromise the security of Canada and its closest allies. Huawei has denied engaging in intelligence work on behalf of any government.The workshops led by the RCMP’s critical infrastructure team highlighted the problem of “supply chain vulnerability” — a back-door tactic to infiltrate systems.The RCMP did not respond to questions about the sessions. CSIS spokesman John Townsend said the concerns stem from cases where equipment and related computerized control systems and services are manufactured and installed by companies controlled by or affiliated with a foreign government.“These foreign governments may pursue not only profitable commercial objectives but may also try to advance their own broader and potentially adverse strategic and economic interests,” he said.The tactics could include gaining influence and leverage over the host country, espionage, technology theft and malicious cyberactivities, Townsend added.The security presentations also warned of “spear-phishing” attempts by hostile forces to gain access to computer systems through emails that fool employees into giving up passwords or other sensitive data.The agencies encouraged companies working on leading-edge research to take stock of protective measures and develop a corporate security plan to manage risks. For instance, scientists should consult corporate security about precautions when outside delegations visit.“If you detect suspicious activity, contact authorities,” the presentation materials say. “All infrastructure sectors should remain engaged with RCMP and CSIS to share security intelligence.” Patrick Smyth, vice-president of performance at the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, said security is “top of mind” for member companies, which share information and help each other ensure they are prepared for emerging hazards and threats.Cyberattacks are an evolving threat, but not a new one for pipeline operators, he said in an interview.“They’ve been looking at it for a number of years and tracking the evolution around the sophistication of bad actors who might wish to find entry points into individual companies, and take over control of certain elements of the infrastructure and cause damage,” he said.If a state-owned enterprise is looking to acquire an asset, “these companies have programs, checks and balances in place to address that.”Pipeline operators receive intelligence from the RCMP, CSIS, the federal natural-resources and public-safety departments and U.S. agencies, Smyth added. However, he sees a place for the awareness workshops, saying any “additional source of information and intelligence is helpful.”— Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill , The Canadian Presslast_img read more