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On October 4th 1957 the science of astronautics was thrust into the limelight when the first artificial satellite went into orbit around the Earth.
Politicians around the world scrambled
to catch up and understand the significance
of this enormous achievement. At that time
most of Canada's top engineers were employed
by such stalwart companies as De Havilland, Canadair and A.V. Roe
Aircraft. However, the flight of Sputnik opened up a frontier which
required a new breed of visionary missile-men. Men such as Phil Lapp.
Working from within De Havilland's newly formed missile division, Lapp
immediately recognised the new world that was opening up in Sputnik's
wake. Within a few weeks of that momentous event he organised a meeting
of his fellow engineers to inaugurate a "Canadian Astronautical Society"
at the De Havilland factory in Downsview Ontario. This meeting heralded
the birth of Canada's space program.
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|Phil Lapp was the founder of the Canadian Astronautical Society in 1957. He was co-founder of SPAR Aerospace, co-author of the Chapman Report, one of the top engineers on the Alouette satellite and the Avro Arrow's weapons systems, one of the principals behind both the Canadarm and Radarsat and a winner of both the Order of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. His "Canadian Astronautical Society" became the "S" in the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute of which he was an early president. He passed away in 2013.|