Monday, December 12, 2016

exactEarth, Lybid-1, the CSA (which Needs more Committees) and the Upcoming 2017 Earth Observation Summit

          By Henry Stewart

Peter Mabson. Photo c/o NSG.
Here's some of the stories we're currently tracking for the Commercial Space blog:
  • New Space Global (NSG) senior editor David Bulloch has posted an interesting interview with Cambridge, Ontario based exactEarth CEO Peter Mabson, on the New Space Global website
As outlined in the December 12th, 2016 NewSpace Watch post, "10 Questions for Peter Mabson CEO of exactEarth," Mabson is bullish on his firm's prospects since "the global market right now for satellite (automatic identification system) AIS and data services and related products is (only about) $40Mln annually (but its growing). We have somewhat over 40% of that. We are the market share leader. I think we have more than double the revenue of our nearest competitor in the overall space."
According to Mabson, the "next big step for us" was last years announcement of "a major alliance with the Harris Corporation in the US, under which Harris is building 58 hosted payloads for the maritime services that are being integrated with the IridiumNEXT constellation, which is due to start launching in the next few months."
As outlined in the June 8th, 2015 exactEarth press release, "exactEarth and Harris Corporation Form Strategic Alliance to Provide Real-Time Global Maritime Tracking and Information Solutions," the new service will "provide customers with the fastest, most accurate vessel information available."
The full article is available online for a small fee. Journalists all gotta eat, so check it out. 
The 1845 kg Lybid-1 communications satellite. Graphic c/o Kyiv Post.
  • Anyone remember the Lybid-1? 
As outlined on Gunter's Space page, the Lybid-1 is a Ukrainian communications satellite built by Macdonald Dettwiler (MDA) under contract to the State Space Agency of the Ukraine (SSAU), but never launched because the 2014 Ukrainian crisis heated up and Russia occupied the Crimea. 
However, at least according to the December 9th, 2016 Interfax Ukraine post, "SSAU seeks to prepare for launch of first Ukrainian satellite Lybid in 2017," the SSAU is looking to rectify that oversight. 
As outlined in the article, Export Development Canada (EDC), provided a $254.6Mln CDN loan under "Ukrainian government guarantees to finance the project in the summer of 2009. Initially it was planned to put the Ukrainian satellite into orbit in 2012, later it was postponed to 2013 and then to April 2014."
The post goes on to state that the completed satellite is currently being stored at Reshetnev in Krasnoyarsk (Russia), while the "Canadian partner is holding talks with Russia to get guarantees to launch the satellite" sometime in 2017. 
Screenshot of the CSA webpage outlining the requirements of the new committee's. Screenshot c/o CSA.
  • It looks as if the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), unlike most other Federal departments, doesn't have enough committees. 
The solution, at least as outlined in the December 8th, 2016 CSA web page titled, "The CSA is establishing three new science advisory committees," is to organize three new ones. They include a Solar-Terrestrial Science Advisory Committee (STSAC), an Atmospheric Science Advisory Committee (ASAC) and an Earth System Science Advisory Committee (ESSAC). 
The new committees will be tasked with providing "independent advice to the CSA on Space Utilization science priorities and provide feedback on CSA programs and initiatives."
Of course, this isn't the first time the Trudeau government has asked for "independent advice" on science. As outlined in the June 13th, 2016 post, "Government Announces Comprehensive Review of Canadian Science," the federal government initially announced an independent review of federal funding for science and academics in June 2016. That review is still ongoing. 
And, in October 2016, the Innovation Ministry announced that "the Government of Canada is seeking candidates for a Space Advisory Board that is inclusive, forward-thinking and positioned to drive innovation and science in Canada, and that will help identify future opportunities for economic growth that will benefit all Canadians." 
That "new" space advisory board replaced an older one, which was first discussed in the November 9th, 2014 post, "Industry Minister Moore Announces Space Advisory Board Members." It was composed of illustrious and well known space experts, including retired astronaut Chris Hadfield and retired general and former CSA president Walt Natynczyk, but never publicly issued a report.
Here's hoping for better luck with the three new committees. 
Promotion graphic for 2017 EO Summit. Graphic c/o EO Summit.
The summit is expected to be the largest Canadian focused Earth observation (EO) event in 2017. 
Organizers expect upwards of 400 participants and more than 100 speakers to discuss various EO applications in 40 thematic sessions including climatic changes, disaster management, ocean and coastal, the North, agriculture, resources management, sustainable development, atmosphere, forestry, mining, advanced SAR innovation and many others.
For more information on the event, please check out the 2017 Earth Observation website, at
For more stories on the Canadian and international space industry, check out upcoming editions of the Commercial Space blog. 

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


  1. I seem to be having some difficulties finding the article for purchase regarding NSG interviewing exactEarth. Would it be possible to have a direct link to the page where I can purchase the article?

  2. NSG Managing Editor Clark Lindsey should be able to help you out. His e-mail is


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