Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weather Sats, CSA Contracts, Isle of Mann, New Magellan Facility & John MacDonald

Here's a short list of five items currently being tracked in the Commercial Space blog.
The NPOESS NPP satellite.

  • Speaking of contracts, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has just awarded six small contracts to four organizations for concept studies in areas "related to future space exploration ventures" according to the October 27th, 2011 CSA press release "Canadian Space Agency Invests in Exploration Ideas." The $250,000 CDN contracts were snagged by Macdonald Dettwiler (one, called the "Clear Sky Project," focused on orbital debris clearance and a second for on-orbit automated servicing to demonstrate "critical technologies and techniques required to capture a satellite"), Com Dev International (one contract to demonstrate the techniques for orbital debris elimination and a second for a Canadian-led space telescope smaller than the Hubble Space Telescope, but with wider panoramic views and comparable sharpness), ABB Canada (for a compact fourier transform spectrometer, which seems to be an ABB area of expertise) and the University of Alberta (for a radiation detection system pitched as suitable for use aboard the International Space Station and future Moon and Mars missions). There is very little new here (for example, the MDA contracts seem direct progressions of skill-sets developed using the CanadArm II to dock unmanned modules aboard the ISS, which are in practical use now and certainly developed far beyond the need for a "concept study") but it's nice to see that the CSA doesn't want to be completely left behind as Canadian space system companies begin to roll-out new projects.

Dr. John MacDonald.
  • John MacDonald might currently be the chairman and CEO of Day 4 Energy, a global provider of solar photovoltaic products and might also have just been awarded the Leadership Award in recognition of the contributions he has made to B.C. exports throughout his career as reported in the October 28th, 2011 Vancouver Sun article "BC Export Award winners announced." But a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, MacDonald also co-founded MDA, Canada’s second largest space technology company after Telsat, so it's nice to see that he's still going strong.

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