CSA Awards CAD $9 Million for Technology Development

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded 14 contracts worth just over CAD $9 million (US $6.6 million) to eight companies under its Space Technology Development Program (STDP).

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) received a total of six contracts worth CAD $3.5 million (US $2.6 million). COM DEV of Cambridge, Ont., received a pair of contracts worth nearly CAD $1.6 million (US $1.1 million). And UrtheCast of Vancouver received a contract worth $999,916 (US $736,131).

“As part of a competitive process, proposals are selected based on the applicant’s (mainly industry) capacity to advance the development of specific space technologies for which they receive financial support of up to 75% of their project cost,” CSA said on its website.

The space agency plans to award additional contracts under the STDP. Details of the awards are below.

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Maxar Technologies Announces its Intention to Acquire Vricon, Inc. to Accelerate Growth for 3D Technology

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar Technologies PR) — Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced its intent to exercise its call option to take full ownership of 3D data and analytics firm Vricon, Inc., for approximately $140 million, or approximately $115 million net of estimated cash at closing.

To fund the transaction, Maxar intends to issue $150 million in aggregate principal amount of new senior secured notes. Maxar has also agreed to repurchase $150 million in aggregate principal amount of existing notes using the proceeds of the recent sale of its MDA business.

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Canada Looks to MDA to Build Gateway Canadarm3 for Artemis Deep Space Missions

An artist’s concept of Canadarm3’s large arm on the Lunar Gateway. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Canada is taking another important step forward in its participation in the next chapter of Moon exploration. Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced Canada intends to enter into a contract with Brampton-based company MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Inc. (MDA) to build Canadarm3.

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Griffin, Porter to Depart Defense Department

Mike Griffin

Defense Department Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin and his deputy, Lisa Porter, have resigned from their posts effective June 10 to jointly pursue an unidentified opportunity in the private sector, Breaking Defense reports.

Griffin, who previously served as NASA administrator, was brought on board in February 2019 to overhaul the Pentagon’s costly and time-consuming research, development and procurement systems through the newly established Space Development Agency (SDA) and other measures.

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MDA Selects DDC-I’s Deos RTOS to Develop Communications System for SNC’s Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

PHOENIX, June 10, 2020 (DDC-I PR) — DDC-I, a leading supplier of software and professional services for mission- and safety-critical applications, today announced that its Deos safety-critical real-time operating system has been selected by Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) for use in a communications subsystem destined for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser® Cargo System.

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Former Astronaut Tim Kopra Joins MDA

Tim Kopra (Credit: NASA)

BRAMPTON, ONT. (MDA PR) — MDA is pleased to announce that retired astronaut Tim Kopra will join its leadership team as Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations, effective immediately. As the leader for this business area, he will be responsible for the work of the robotics and space operations teams at MDA sites in Brampton, Ottawa, Saint-Hubert and Houston.

“We are thrilled to have Tim join our executive leadership team,” said Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer of MDA. “As we embark on the next decade of space exploration, with the Artemis lunar program, commercial on-orbit servicing and on-orbit manufacturing, as well increasing activity on Mars, MDA has a large role to play and I believe Tim’s operational experience and leadership skills will be essential to our continued growth and success.”

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Maxar Closes Sale of MDA Subsidiary

WESTMINSTER, Colo., April 8, 2020 (Maxar PR)– Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced it has closed the sale of MDA, previously a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, to a consortium of investors led by Northern Private Capital for CAD$1 billion. Net proceeds, including customary adjustments, and after application of currency hedges related to the transaction is expected to be approximately US$729 million.

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MDA Wins Contract to Support Robotic Arms on Space Station

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector. (Credit: NASA)

OTTAWA, March 26, 2020 (CSA PR) — Today, the Government of Canada issued a new contract to MDA for the continuing operations and maintenance of the Mobile Servicing System, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotics suite—comprised of Canadarm2Dextre and the Mobile Base System—on the International Space Station (ISS). The contract, worth $190 million, will enable MDA to provide essential engineering and logistics support over the next four years.

The ISS is a test bed and stepping stone to the Moon and Mars. This investment is an opportunity for the Canadian space sector to maintain its international leadership in space robotics as Canada prepares for the next chapter of space exploration, the Lunar Gateway—the cornerstone of Canada’s Space Strategy.

Maxar to Sell MDA for $765 Million

WESTMINSTER, Colo., December 30, 2019 (Maxar PR) — Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell MDA to a consortium of financial sponsors led by Northern Private Capital (NPC), for CAD$1 billion (US$765 million), subject to customary adjustments. The company expects to use proceeds to reduce leverage and improve its capital structure to prioritize investments for growth in its core areas of Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure.

The transaction includes all of MDA’s Canadian businesses, encompassing ground stations, radar satellite products, robotics, defense, and satellite components, representing approximately 1,900 employees. These businesses are expected to generate approximately US$370 million and US$85 million in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA, respectively in 2019. This revenue is inclusive of approximately US$78 million of intercompany sales to other Maxar entities.

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OSIRIS-REx’s Canadian Instrument Mapped Nightingale Site on Bennu Asteroid

Video Caption: 2019-12-12 – The Nightingale site, located near asteroid Bennu’s north pole, was selected as the OSIRIS-REx mission final sample site.

These detailed views of the location (complete with boulders, craters and other geological features) are based on a series of measurements taken by the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter OLA, the Canadian laser instrument aboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

Image creation: Michael Daly, Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science, York University (Credits: NASA, University of Arizona, Canadian Space Agency, York University, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA)

Useful Links

Canada’s role in OSIRIS-REx: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellit…
The OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellit…

Find out more about this video: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/search/v…

RUAG Space’s Unique Tilting Satellite Dispenser System Takes Flight with RADARSAT Mission

Credit: RUAG Space

BERN, Switzerland (RUAG Space PR) — Using its rich heritage of designing and building satellite dispensers, RUAG Space developed a unique satellite Dispenser that enables three large radar Earth observation satellites to simultaneously launch on a single launcher.

The Dispenser system connected the spacecraft to the launcher and ensured safe separation in orbit using a first-of-its-kind tilting mechanism. RUAG Space delivered the tilting Dispenser System to MDA, a Maxar company, to support the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), which launched Wednesday, June 12 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Set to Lift off Wednesday with 3 Canadian Radarsats

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, June 12 for launch of RADARSAT Constellation Mission from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The primary launch window opens at 7:17a.m. PDT, or 14:17UTC, and closes at 7:30 a.m. PDT, or 14:30 UTC. The satellites will begin deployment approximately 54 minutes after launch. A backup launch window opens on Thursday, June13 at 7:17a.m. PDT, or 14:17 UTC,and closes at 7:30 a.m. PDT, or 14:30 UTC.

Falcon 9’s first stage for launch of RADARSAT Constellation Mission previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission in March 2019. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to land on SpaceX’s Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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Manufacturing Teams Complete System Definition and Risk Management Phase for Telesat Constellation

Credit: Telesat

OTTAWA, Ont. and WASHINGTON, DC, May 6, 2019 (Telesat PR) – Telesat announced today that the two teams it contracted with to develop system designs for Telesat’s global low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation have successfully completed the System Definition and Risk Management Phase of the program. One of the teams is Airbus Defence and Space. The other is a consortium of Thales Alenia Space and Maxar Technologies, the owner of SSL and MDA.

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New Coalition Formed to Revive Canadian Space Program


A new coalition of industry, academic and interest groups has launched  a campaign called Don’t Let Go Canada in an effort to bolster the Canadian space program.

“While other countries have been increasing their investments in space, Canada has fallen from 8th place in 1992 to 18th place (% of GDP), and hasn’t had a long-term plan to guide Canada’s investments for decades,” the group said on its website.

“The economic stakes of space participation are higher than ever. The global space market is worth over USD $380B today; analysts forecast it will grow to be a multi-trillion-dollar market in coming decades,” the website states. “Ambitious governments are staking their claims. Luxembourg plans to be the leading country in space mining; the UK aims to capture 10 percent of the global space market by 2030.”

Among the members of the coalition are MDA, Honeywell, Magellan Aerospace, ABB, AIAC, Neptec, Canadian Space Society, Canadian Astronautics and Space Institute, and The Planetary Society. A full list of members is on the organization’s website.

The group is calling for a properly funded, long-term Canadian Space Strategy to guide the nation’s efforts. One pressing concern is a decision on whether Canada will participate in the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway program, which will place a human-tended station in orbit around the moon.