|Artist conception of PCW c/o the Canadian Space Agency.|
According to recent rumours circulating through the John H. Chapman Space Centre, the Polar Communications & Weather (PCW) mission, a Canadian Space Agency (CSA) program developed in partnership with Environment Canada (EC), the Department of National Defense (DND) and other Federal government departments, might finally receive the funding it needs to move forward.
Any public announcement in this area would likely be made around August 6th, to coincide with the date when Walter Natynczyk, the new CSA president, is expected to take over day-to-day control of the organization.
The PCW project is designed to facilitate Canadian operations in the north and support Canadian sovereignty by providing reliable and continuous space-based communications services and timely meteorological information.
The mission would consist of two satellites in molniya-type orbits, supported by one northern ground station and connected to communication satellites in geosynchronous orbit with other connections to various portions of the telecommunications infrastructure.
According to the "Polar Communication and Weather mission (PCW)" overview on the CSA website, the PCW mission will cover portions of far north Canadian territory which are not covered by the current crop of geostationary communications satellites (GEO).
But up until now, project funding has only arrived in small batches.
The only direct funding the program has ever received was a $4.3Mln contract awarded to PCW prime contractor MacDonald Dettwiler (as outlined in the July 27th, 2009 post "MDA Signs Contract For Polar Communications and Weather Mission") for the preliminary phase "A" mission design. As well, according to the November 22nd, 2011 ABB press release, "ABB to help Canadian space agency to monitor weather in the Arctic," the CSA also awarded a $5.7Mln CDN contract to ABB Canada to develop a multi-spectral imager for the PCW as part of the Space Technologies Development Program (STDP) in 2011.
No final mission costs are publicly available for the PCW program.