Monday, December 05, 2011

The Polar Communications & Weather Mission

According to rumours circulating around Canadian Space Agency (CSA) headquarters, impending CSA budget cuts expected to occur next March, will essentially eviscerate all new initiatives, leaving only the federally supported RADARSAT Constellation program for the CSA to administer.

The only exception in this scenario might possibly be the Polar Communications & Weather (PCW) mission.

As described in my July 27th, 2009 post "MDA Signs Contract For Polar Communications and Weather Mission," the PCW mission "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 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.

According to the "Polar Communication and Weather mission (PCW)" overview on the CSA website, the PCW mission will cover portions of Canadian territory which are not covered by the current crop of geostationary communications satellites (GEO) in order to ensure 24/7 communications, plus accurate short term weather and long term climate forecasts.

According to the Defence Research and Development Canada website on the PCW program, the CSA, the Department of National Defence and Environment Canada are partnering on the PCW project.

It will be interesting to see if the program survives the budget process.

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