Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Canada’s role and potential involvement in the growing new space economy require a commitment from the Government of Canada for a new space strategy that would secure Canada’s place as a leader in space, Mike Greenley, the Group President of MDA, a Maxar company, said in a speech to the Canadian Club in Ottawa.
“We need a long-term space plan for Canada that establishes the requisite funding to maintain and enhance our existing world-leading capabilities in space robotics, satellite communications, Earth observation and space science, while cultivating new areas of leadership. And we need it now, because there are pressing decisions that need to be made,” Greenley said.
The most urgent question facing Canada is whether the country will participate in the international space community’s next big exploration project. As governments wind down their investments in the International Space Station, the leading spacefaring nations, including the United States, Europe, Japan and Russia, are planning a return to the Moon in the 2020s. NASA is planning to build a small space station that orbits the Moon, which will serve as a base for lunar exploration, a platform for science experiments, and a gateway to explore deeper space.
Canada’s commitment would involve the development of a third-generation Canadarm, the iconic Canadian space robotics technology featured prominently on the five dollar bill. Canadian space robotics would provide highly visible, innovative and critical Lunar Gateway operations, including the assembly of the Gateway itself (and its ongoing maintenance), the capture of visiting spacecraft, and the enabling of science conducted in the lunar vicinity. Given the distance to the Moon, these advanced space robotics would need to operate autonomously, powered by Canadian AI technology. Subsequent contributions could involve lunar rovers and space medicine technology.
“The international community expects Canada to participate in this mission and to provide the advanced robotics systems for the Lunar Gateway, our area of expertise that no other country does better,” noted Greenley. “It is Canada’s role for the taking.”
“Making a commitment to participate in the Lunar Gateway as part of the upcoming space strategy would maintain and enhance Canada’s acknowledged world leadership in space robotics and signal to the world that Canada plans to claim its place in the new space economy,” Greenley added. “The value of the global space market reached US$380 billion in 2017, and analysts forecast it will grow to be a multi-trillion-dollar market in the coming decades.”
Participation in space will not only accelerate innovation and fuel Canada’s future competitiveness, but will also maintain our country’s ability to influence the global discussion around space, Greenley said.
“We know how important it is for Canada to be part of the conversation,” Greenley said. “A re-commitment to space would enhance our ability to participate in shaping developments in space and bolster emerging areas of Canadian expertise like space law.”
Greenley said MDA and other partners in the Canadian space industry will spend this fall talking to Canadians and elected officials about the importance of space.
MDA is an internationally recognized leader in space robotics, space sensors, satellite payloads, antennas and subsystems, surveillance and intelligence systems, defence and maritime systems, and geospatial radar imagery. MDA’s extensive space expertise and heritage translates into mission-critical defence and commercial applications that include multi-platform command, control and surveillance systems, aeronautical information systems, land administration systems and terrestrial robotics. MDA is also a leading supplier of actionable mission-critical information and insights derived from multiple data sources. Founded in 1969, MDA is recognized as one of Canada’s most successful technology ventures with locations in Richmond, Ottawa, Brampton, Montreal, Halifax and the United Kingdom. MDA is a Maxar Technologies company (TSX: MAXR; NYSE: MAXR). For more information, visit www.mdacorporation.com.
About Maxar Technologies
As a global leader of advanced space technology solutions, Maxar Technologies (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates) is at the nexus of the new space economy, developing and sustaining the infrastructure and delivering the information, services, systems that unlock the promise of space for commercial and government markets. As a trusted partner, Maxar Technologies provides vertically-integrated capabilities and expertise including satellites, Earth imagery, robotics, geospatial data and analytics to help customers anticipate and address their most complex mission-critical challenges with confidence. With more than 6,500 employees in over 30 global locations, the Maxar Technologies portfolio of commercial space brands includes MDA, SSL, DigitalGlobe and Radiant Solutions. Every day, billions of people rely on Maxar to communicate, share information and data, and deliver insights that Build a Better World. Maxar trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange as MAXR. For more information, visit www.maxar.com.
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