Thursday, February 07, 2019

Honeywell Will Formally Open Its Already Operational Smallsat Tech Incubator in Old COM DEV Facility

          By Henry Stewart

Maybe things are starting to look up for Canada's space industry.

Sometime this month, Charlottesville NC based Honeywell International, will formally open its Space Division’s Greenhouse, a technology and space focused incubator in a facility originally owned by the old Cambridge ON based COM DEV International.

Of course, the Honeywell Greenhouse has unofficially been opened for almost a year. It's been publically referenced as far back as the August 22nd, 2018 Space News post, "Small satellites are at the center of a space industry transformation" and many of its core staff have held their formal titles since June 2018.

Before then, most worked for COM DEV and focused on doing pretty much what they had been doing since Honeywell brought the iconic Canadian space company and spun out its Cambridge ON based exactEarth smallsat subsidiary as a separate company in late 2015.

But a formal announcement, as outlined in the January 7th, 2019 Space News post, "Honeywell to open technology incubator," has just got to come as good news, even if only as an implied commitment that the facility will remain open in some capacity.

According to Space News:
The market for geostationary communications satellites has slowed at a time when companies around the world are beginning to build small satellite constellations. 
Increasingly, customers demand reliable satellite components they can acquire quickly and inexpensively. To meet that demand, Honeywell is “picking technologies it is really good at making and bringing them into this new age,” Mississian said. 
Honeywell has 25 full-time employees working in the Greenhouse established in the Ontario, Canada, facility that was home to COM DEV International before Honeywell acquired the satellite component builder in 2015. The Greenhouse also pulls in expertise from the larger company.
The Greenhouse will work on a variety of projects relating to optical intersatellite links, reaction wheels, optical imagers and technology developed initially by COM DEV for Canadian government contracts.

As outlined in the September 1st, 2017 SpaceQ post, "Cambridge Facility Sees Workforce Reduction of 49% Since Honeywell Acquired Com Dev International," up to 49% of the facilities estimated 550 employees were either laid-off, retired of left the company within two years of it being acquired by Honeywell.

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

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