The Intangible Defence:
Canada’s Militarization and Weaponization of Space
by Andrew B. Godefroy
The military application of new technologies such as radar, rockets, jet aircraft, and the atomic bomb during the Second World War made it clear that the next war would look nothing like the last.1 The science that had successfully contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany also drove the early Cold War agendas of both the United States and the Soviet Union, as the two post-war belligerents wasted little time organizing their resources for the technological challenges involved in preparing for a possible Third World War.2 Situated between the two superpowers, Canada’s continued alignment with the United States after the Second World War opened it up to the same spectre of Soviet strategic attack that threatened its American ally.3 At the same time, this alignment created an opportunity for Canada to share new advances in science and technology including that associated with missiles, rocketry, and space flight. Combined with its own defence research efforts, Canada developed a series of missile and space initiatives critical to the strategic defence of the country, while contributing considerable resources to American-led programs. Though politically sensitive and at times militarily intangible, Canada’s role in the militarization and weaponization of space over the last 40 years continuously reflected the national interests of a country often required to leverage policy and international cooperation in lieu of financial resources or physical assets.
Like the first great naval powers contemplated the globe hundreds of years ago, so the first atomic powers contemplated space. There were many questions and concerns about this new ocean. “Their existing legal and political conceptions do not cover it, and their experience