Space Agency Closing Research Lab Key To International Space Station, Canadarm | CBC News


The David Florida Laboratory in west Ottawa develops space technology including projects for the International Space Station, Canadarm and James Webb telescope. It will close at the end of March 2025.

David Florida Laboratory opened in Ottawa in 1972CBC News

· Posted: Mar 01, 2024 10:48 AM EST | Last Updated: March 1

A spare robotic hand for Canadarm2 tested at Ottawa’s David Florida Laboratory in 2015. The Canadian Space Agency says the lab can run tests ranging from –25 to 60 C. (Canadian Space Agency)The Canadian Space Agency has confirmed a west Ottawa spacecraft laboratory it calls “Canada’s national facility for spacecraft assembly [and] integration” is closing at the end of March 2025.

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

It’s one of the few complexes in the world that can simulate conditions of a rocket launch and space flight, according to the agency. It also performs some work on antennas that isn’t done anywhere else.

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

The facility also had space available for lease to other companies and organizations.

The “achievements” section of the lab’s website lists 41 wins over 50 years on subjects such as tracking asteroids,  communications technology for Japan and Spain, life on Mars and monitoring changes to Earth’s surface water.

The laboratory, seen here in 2005, is part of the Shirley’s Bay complex in west Ottawa. (Communications Research Center Canada)Answering an email from CBC on Friday, a space agency spokesperson said the lab is scheduled to close March 31, 2025, after several months of winding down.

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

They declined a request for an interview.

The lab is named after C. David Florida who worked on experimental communications satellites and was director of the Canadian National Space Telecommunications Laboratory when he died in 1971.

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