Monday, July 27, 2009

MDA Signs Contract For Polar Communications and Weather Mission

Canadian aerospace company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) has finally signed the $4.3 million (CDN) contract with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the development of the mission concept for the Polar Communications and Weather Mission (PCW) according to this press release issued July, 23rd by MDA and posted on the Commercial Space Watch.

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 contract could indicate the beginnings of a more activist approach by the CSA to the use of Canadian space assets in issues relating to national security and northern sovereignty and might also be a logical follow-on to last years government refusal to allow portions of MDA to be sold to US based firm ATK.

As presently structured, 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 in order to assist with tracking, identification and analysis.

The specific contract announced on Thursday is to develop the preliminary knowledge necessary to proceed towards the next phase.

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