Monday, November 14, 2016

Public Private Partnerships, Marc Garneau, Telesat, DND, WGS, DoD, CSA & Urthecast

          By Henry Stewart

Here are a few of the stories we're currently tracking in the Commercial Space blog:

Garneau on stage at P3 2016. As outlined in his presentation, the Federal government will invest $10.1Bln CDN in transportation infrastructure for trade and travel, and roll out a new federal infrastructure bank, which will develop public private partnerships to help fund the needed infrastructure. As outlined in the July 6th, 2016 post, "Brownsville, STARGATE and SpaceX," the space industry has also utilized public private funding mechanisms to build out infrastructure and generate jobs. Photo c/o Chuck Black
As outlined in the November 13th, 2016 Globe and Mail post, "Ottawa to make 'unprecedented' appeal for private investment in infrastructure," the Justin Trudeau government has been looking to foreign investors to park billions of dollars in Canadian based public-private partnerships, to help fund the construction of needed infrastructure projects such as hospitals and highways throughout the country.
Of course, not everyone is in favor of these partnerships. Many are concerned that they are simply the first stage in the privatization of major Canadian utilities. Over lunch, a small protest of about 100 people, mostly Ontario government workers, disrupted the conference proceedings by marching through the event shouting "Ontario is not for sale," before they were escorted off the premises by local police. 
But it's worth noting that public private partnerships also helped create Telesat Canada, now the fourth-largest fixed satellite services provider in the world, but once a Canadian crown corporation created in 1969 as a public private partnership to provide telecom access in the far north.
Canada is considered a world leader in the creation of public private partnerships and P3 2016 is generally considered the premier event for gaining knowledge in this area. 
The November 10th, 2016 SpaceNews post, "Canada says military satcom negotiations with U.S. are much improved" quotes Canadian Forces Lt. Col. Abde Bellahnid,  as saying that his "US counterparts have become increasingly willing to take allied opinions into account." 
According to the article, Bellahnid said he "was particularly impressed by the U.S. Defense Department’s willingness to allow allies a seat at the table as the Pentagon evaluates next-generation satellite communications requirements and the future involvement of the commercial sector and U.S. allies." 
The process, known as an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), has included an invitation to 16 allies, including Canada, to take part.
Canada is expected to eventually gain access to the $11Bln USD ($15Bln CDN) constellation for about a half-billion dollars and discussion is also slowly moving forward on other potential collaborations. 
  • The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has finally begun promoting Apogy, an open source tool developed and used by the space agency to simplify the creation of the software needed to operate physical systems such as rovers, robotic arms, scientific instruments and sensors. 
As outlined in the November 11th, 2016 CSA blog post, "Apogy: the one-stop-shop solution for operating robots, satellites and beyond," the technology is designed to offer "a one-stop-shop solution where all the basic functions needed to manage that platform are standardized and accessible from a single place."
Background on the Apogy tool is available online at Eclipse, an open source community of tools, projects and collaborative working groups.
IFRS revenue for the quarter was $20.7Mln CDN, a 37% increase over the $15.0Mln CDN reported in the same period last year. 
The company, which seems to employ a surprisingly large number of ex-MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) employees, sells Earth imaging data collected from a variety of orbital sources and has announced plans to place a 16 satellite Earth imaging constellation in Earth orbit to bolster its capabilities.
For more, check out upcoming editions of the Commercial Space blog.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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