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Archived - Canadian Space Agency announces design contract with MDA for RADARSAT Constellation

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Longueuil, Quebec, November 14, 2008 – The Canadian Space Agency announced today that MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) has been awarded a 16-month contract valued at $40 million to begin the design of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM).

The RADARSAT Constellation is the evolution of the RADARSAT Program and will ensure the continued use by government scientific and commercial clients of data produced by Canada's advanced C-band radar instrument.

As part of the mission, the three-satellite configuration will provide complete daily coverage of Canada's land and oceans as well as significant coverage of international areas for Canadian and international users.

Like RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2, the Constellation will be designed to function day and night in all weather conditions. It will fully support the priorities of the government and enhance Canada's ability to ensure its sovereignty and security through space-borne maritime surveillance, including the Northwest Passage.

"The federal government is proud to support this innovative Canadian-made technology, which will enhance our ability to detect oil spills and monitor floods, landslides and eruptions - and do so in a more timely and comprehensive way than is currently possible," said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry.

"Today's announcement further reflects this government's commitment to innovation and technology. The possibilities of use for this sort of technology are many, and our investment in the RADARSAT Constellation Mission demonstrates our desire to remain at the forefront of scientific advancement," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

"The development of this constellation will support the government in its efforts to assure sustainable development, manage natural resources, and exercise security and sovereignty, especially in the Arctic," said Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency. "It will also allow Canada to continue to contribute significantly to global disaster management and rescue efforts."

Under the contract, MDA will complete the preliminary design of the RCM satellite and ground infrastructure. While the initial mission includes three satellites, the Constellation is designed to grow to include up to six satellites. This will allow the system to address future requirements as they arise with greater flexibility.

About the RADARSAT Constellation Mission

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission will ensure C-band data continuity for RADARSAT users, as well as adding a new series of applications enabled through the constellation approach. The first satellite of the constellation will be launched to ensure that there is no data gap as RADARSAT-2 nears the end of its planned life. The main uses of RCM are expected to be in the areas of: maritime surveillance (ship detection, ice monitoring, and oil spill detection); disaster management; and ecosystem monitoring.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) coordinates all civil, space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. CSA directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: Earth Observation, Space Science and Exploration, Satellite Communications, and Space Awareness and Learning. By leveraging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

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For more information:

Media Relations
Media Relations
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: media.relations@asc-csa.gc.ca

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