Friday, November 16, 2018

A $52Mln CDN Financing Deal for Northstar Earth and Space Inc.

          By Henry Stewart

It wasn't exactly what people were expecting the day after NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited Ottawa to ask for a Canadian contribution to the NASA Lunar Gateway.

But the November 15th, 2018 announcement that the Federal government, along with several other "strategic partners," had contributed $52Mln CDN  in total to Montreal PQ based Northstar Earth & Space for the development of "a global environment information platform which will transform humanity's ability to manage our impact on Earth and its natural resources," was certainly a favorable indicator for at least one Canadian based space company.

Innovation Minister Bains announcing that the Federal government would be contributing $13Mln CDN to the latest $52Mln CDN funding plan for Northstar Earth and Space on November 15th, 2018. As outlined in the November 14th, 2018 Government of Canada press release "Minister Bains to visit Montréal to announce funding that will help create middle-class jobs in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta," the minister was initially ambiguous about the specifics of the announcement and many thought the announcement would relate to the Lunar Gateway. The complete presentation is available online here. Video c/o @ISED_CA

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains made the Northstar announcement at a special presentation at the Phi Centre in Montreal PQ on November 15th, 2018.

As outlined in the November 15th, 2018 Northstar press release, "NorthStar Earth and Space Inc. announces partnerships, $52Mln in additional financing for global environment information platform," the governments of Canada and Quebec each contributed $13Mln CDN to the total announced funding.

Government of Canada funding includes $9.5Mln from the Federal Strategic Innovation Fund and $3.5Mln CDN from Economic Development Quebec Region. The Government of Quebec, via Le Fonds du développement économique (FDE) also invested $13Mln CDN.

A variety of private partners, including Montreal PQ based Telesystem Space (the Northstar majority shareholder) and the Space Alliance of Europe (a strategic partnership between Rome Italy based Telespazio Spa, Cannes France based Thales Alenia Space and Rome Italy based Leonardo Aerospace) provided the rest of the $52Mln CDN.

The latest financing is in addition to the $31Mln CDN contributed previously by other NorthStar Canadian and US founding partners. The company has gathered a total of $83Mln CDN for its NorthStar platform.

As outlined in the press release:
The NorthStar platform is based on a 40-satellite constellation with sophisticated sensors and information delivery capability. NorthStar will enable new advances in continuous environmental management including pollution detection, charting the health of the world's oceans and rivers, enhancing the productivity of agriculture, wildfire alerts, and pipeline oil and gas monitoring to prevent spills and contamination.
When fully operational, NorthStar expects to create an estimated 400 highly-skilled direct jobs and 1200 indirect jobs related to big data and information analytics, and support the expansion of aerospace, satellite design and sensor technology industries in Canada and abroad.

As outlined in the November 15th, 2018 post, "Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains Politely Pushes NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Under the Bus," the Canadian government has not yet made a decision on whether or not to contribute to the NASA Lunar Gateway.

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

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