Sunday, October 05, 2014

Canadensys: An Innovative New Canadian Space Company

          by Brian Orlotti

A group of former MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) employees has banded together to form Canadensys Aerospace Corporation (Canadensys), a company with an impressive business pedigree. The firm is building a robotic lunar spacecraft that, if successful, will place it on the map of NewSpace players.

The International Lunar Observatory Mission (ILO-1). All photo's & graphics unless otherwise noted c/o Canadensys.

Toronto based Canadensys was formed in 2014 in the wake of MDA's 2012 purchase of California based Space Systems Loral (SSL) and subsequent shift in focus towards the US and international markets. The MDA alumni at the new firm include:

Christian Sallaberger.
Dr. Christian Sallaberger (President & CEO) - A former vice president and director of space exploration at MDA for 15 years, Dr. Sallaberger also worked at the the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) where he initiated the Canadian government’s planetary exploration program. Currently, in addition to his posts at Canadensys, Sallaberger is also chairman of the board of the International Space University (ISU) as well as chairman of the international space exploration committee of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF).

Eric Choi.
Eric Choi (Vice President, Responsive Space) – A former systems engineer at MDA, Choi has held a variety of management and technical positions throughout the space/aerospace sectors and academia, including business development manager at COM DEV International, senior market development specialist at Bombardier Aerospace, and senior technical associate at the University of Waterloo Institute for Quantum Computing. Choi has worked on many space projects, including a meteorology payload on the Phoenix Mars Lander, the Canadarm and DEXTRE robot aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the RADARSAT-1 satellite and the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. Choi is also a noted science fiction author.

Nadeem Ghafoor.
Dr. Nadeem Ghafoor (Vice President, Space Exploration) – A former program manager at MDA with backgrounds in planetary science and spacecraft engineering, Dr. Ghafoor has over 20 years' experience in Canadian and European space programs. Before coming to Canada, Ghafoor worked on the NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, then spent 5 years in the UK designing, building and launching 5 separate micro-satellite missions

Canadensys' primary focus is on harnessing modern technologies such as nano and microsatellites to provide more affordable spacecraft and space-related services.

An upcoming showpiece of the company's vision will be the International Lunar Observatory mission 1 (ILO-1). ILO-1 is a robotic spacecraft (to be launched later this decade) that will perform a long-duration observation and communications mission at the South Pole of the Moon using a two metre dish antenna. Canadensys has been contracted by the mission's sponsor, the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA), to develop ILO-1's science payload, which includes an optical and a radio telescope, as well as a communications system.

As outlined in the July 18th, 2013 PR Newswire press release, "World's First Mission to the Moon's South Pole Announced by Moon Express, Inc. and the International Lunar Observatory Association," the privately funded ILO-1 also has a second mission. ILOA mission partner Moon Express, which is providing the lunar lander, mission architecture and operations planning for ILO-1, plans to use the mission to explore the Moon's South Pole for mineral resources and water.

ILO-1 will be preceded by the International Lunar Observatory Precursor (ILO-X) which is currently scheduled for 2015. Graphic c/o ILOA.

ILOA, a non-profit corporation based in Hawaii, has positioned ILO-1 as one of a series of precursor missions (beginning with its Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope (LUT) aboard China's Chang’e-3 spacecraft currently operating on the Moon) that will culminate in a human mission planned for 2020. ILOA's ultimate goal is the establishment of a human base at the Lunar South Pole.

Brian Orlotti.
Canadensys seeks to combine its collective store of experience with modern technology to make space more accessible and extend humanity's reach beyond Earth. By harnessing the best of both past and future, Canadensys has positioned itself for success.

Brian Orlotti is a Toronto-based IT professional and a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

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