Monday, February 20, 2017

DigitalGlobe in "Buyout Talks" With MacDonald Dettwiler, 17 New CSA "Enabling Technologies" & the 2017 NSERC Awards

          By Henry Stewart

For the week of February 20th, 2017, here are a few of the stories we're currently tracking for the Commercial Space blog:

An overview of Digitalglobe stock price on February 17th, 2017, when the news broke that MDA might be attempting to buy the company. As would be expected, Digitalglobe shares went up in heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after the story broke. MDA's shares were down slightly on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Both the NYSE and the TSX were closed for holidays on Monday but will reopen on Tuesday. Graphic c/o Marketwatch.
The February 17th, 2017 Reuters post, "Canada's MacDonald Dettwiler to buy DigitalGlobe: Dow Jones," quoted unnamed sources as stating that a final deal would close for about $2Bln - $3Bln USD ($2.6Bln - $3.9Bln CDN). 
But Dow Jones was also hedging its bets on the validity of its source. As outlined in the post, "financial conditions of the deal couldn't be learned and it is also possible that talks might fall apart before a decision is reached, the Dow Jones report said." 
DigitalGlobe’s current market cap is approximately $1.8Bln US ($2.4Bln CDN). 
Curiously enough, both MDA and Digitalglobe, as publicly traded corporations, will be holding their quarterly conference earnings calls over the next week. DigitalGlobe is set to report its full year and fourth quarter 2016 financial results on Monday, February 27th, 2017 and MDA will release its fourth quarter and year end financial results on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017. 
Perhaps by then, the real situation will begin to shake out. 

Screenshot c/o

  • The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has issued a letter of interest (LOI) for seventeen "enabling technologies," needed in order to facilitate Canadian contributions to a variety of potential international space missions.
As outlined in the February 16th, 2017 listing, "Development of enabling space technologies - Letter of interest (9F063-160864/A)," the LOI will focus on the development and improvement of technologies able to reach CSA "technology readiness level TRL 6." 
TRL-6, as defined by the CSA, normally includes the development of "a representative model or prototype system," suitable for testing and showing off to potential customers.
The technologies identified under the program include upgrades of existing technology relating to Earth imaging, space medicine and rover technologies. The LOI includes time-frame, beginning and ending tech-levels and estimated budgets once the programs are underway,
Budgets range from $75 - $100K CDN (for the "development of technology that will help to secure Canada’s position as leader of inspace biological sample analysis in support of space research and health monitoring") to $1 - $1.3Mln CDN (for the "development of an advanced low frequency power amplifier for the harsh space environment around Mars"). 
The CSA normally defines "enabling technologies" as components or subsystems of space missions organized by other nations and/or private companies, which the CSA will commit to developing in order to be allowed to participate in the mission.
Funding for the development of "enabling technologies" are normally allocated under the CSA's space technologies development program (STDP).

Seven short videos, highlighting several of the 2017 winners were posted (but with very little fanfare) to the 2017 NSERC Prizes You-Tube page on February 7th, 2017. That's a bit of a shame since the individual awards focus on useful accomplishments from Federally funded scientists and are well worth celebrating.
This years winners include:
  • Sylvain Moineau, from the Université Laval, who received the 2017 John C. Polanyi Award for playing a leading role in the international collaboration which identified the adaptive immunity system known as CRISPR-Cas, found in about half of all bacteria. 
  • André Longtin and Leonard Maler, from the University of Ottawa, who received the 2017 Brockhouse Canada Prize for interdisciplinary research in science and engineering, for combining their expertise in physics, mathematics and neurobiology to uncover the neural code that underlies the operation of the brain. 
For a complete listing of the 2017 NSERC prizes and their winners, check out the February 7th, 2017 "NSERC Prizes page."
For more, check out future posts in the Commercial Space blog.

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

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