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.

Maxar’s MDA Acquires Neptec Design Group, a Leading Space Sensors Company

BRAMPTON, ON, July 16, 2018 (MDA PR) — MDA, a Maxar Technologies company (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.), (NYSE: MAXR; TSX: MAXR), announced today it has acquired Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Neptec), the leading electro-optical and electro-mechanical systems and high-performance intelligent Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) company for CA$42 million, comprised of approximately CA$8 million in cash and the balance in Maxar common shares.

With Neptec, MDA will deliver end-to-end robotic systems and an expanded set of solutions, positioning the company to capture growth in U.S., Canadian and global space exploration markets and accelerate advancement into new and expanding space segments. The transaction is accretive to Maxar’s operating earnings per share beginning in 2019, solidifies MDA’s leadership in space robotics innovation, and reinforces Maxar’s industry-leading space capabilities.

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Canada’s Advanced Vision System to Inspect Space Station

Rendering of Dextre on the end of Canadarm2, holding an advanced vision system.  (Credit: CSA/Neptec)
Rendering of Dextre on the end of Canadarm2, holding an advanced vision system. (Credit: CSA/Neptec)

LONGUEUIL, QC, Jan. 7, 2016 (CSA PR) – A contract to develop a new advanced space vision system that will be mounted on Dextre was announced today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Minister Bains was joined by Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary, and Sherry Romanado, Member of Parliament for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.

The contract, worth $1.7 million, was awarded to Neptec Design Group Ltd. of Ottawa, Ontario, to develop the design for the system, which will be launched in 2020.

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Canadians Redesign Tires for Use on Lunar Rovers

iRings lunar wheels undergo testing. Photo: Brad Jones/Neptec Design Group

McGill University Press Release

Creating a wheel for some of the worst potholes known to humankind is just one of the extraterrestrial challenges a team of McGill students and professors face in developing and testing a wheel prototype for the new Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR).

The new Canadian rover will be used during lunar exploration to carry payloads, cargo and crew, as well as enable drilling and excavation, manipulator and tool integration, and vision and state-of-the-art communications systems.

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Next Human Lunar Rover to be Built in Canada?

Canada looks to build next moon rover
Canwest News Service

“Canada is quietly putting together a proposal to build NASA an all-Canadian moon rover – a vehicle with a pressurized air cabin that astronauts could use without wearing bulky helmets and air tanks. One space industry executive says this could be Canada’s next big area of expertise after the Canadarms.

“Ottawa’s Neptec Design Group, which is already testing a laser guidance system for an unmanned American moon rover, is also leading a team designing a separate, Canadian vehicle. MDA Corp., which built the Canadarms and Radarsat satellites, is also working on its own proposed lunar rover.”