Canada’s RADARSAT constellation mission launched
(12 June 2019 - MDA) MDA announced today that the three RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) satellites developed by MDA for the Canadian Space Agency are performing according to plan.
The satellites launched this morning aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and began sending and receiving signals from space. The satellites will now go through a series of in-orbit manoeuvres and tests before entering service later this year.
The three RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) satellites during encapsulation, prior to launch (courtesy: MDA)
MDA is the prime contractor for the project and was responsible for the engineering design, construction and testing of the three satellites, the ground segment and operations development. Launch was provided by MDA subcontractor SpaceX. MDA is also providing mission operations services for the first year on orbit, supporting the integration of RCM into mission-critical activities across the Canadian government.
RCM represents a major enhancement of Canada's RADARSAT program, following the successes of RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2. Each spacecraft payload consists of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor integrated with an Automated Identification System (AIS) sensor.
RCM will provide the Government of Canada with enhanced surveillance, monitoring and management of Canada's coastal and Arctic regions, fisheries, icy waterways, agricultural lands, natural resources, climate and fragile ecosystems, as well as to support highly operational defence capabilities and global disaster relief efforts. The three-satellite constellation is capable of scanning the Earth day or night and in any weather conditions, allowing for daily coverage over Canada's vast territory and maritime approaches.
“We are thrilled to see the RCM satellites successfully launched,” said Mike Greenley, group president of MDA. “The RADARSAT Constellation Mission builds on the legacy of RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2, and on Canada's expertise and leadership in Earth Observation from space. RADARSAT data has been critical to enhance the Canadian economy and to ensure sovereignty and security of our vast interests, while contributing to our role in the international community on issues impacting our planet.”
RADARSAT-1 was launched in November 1995. It operated for 17 years, well over its five-year life expectancy, during which it orbited Earth 90,828 times, travelling over 2 billion kilometres. It was Canada's first Earth observation satellite. RADARSAT-1 images supported relief operations in 244 disaster events.
RADARSAT-2 was launched in December 2007 and is still operational today. This project represents a unique collaboration between government and industry. MDA owns and operates the satellite and ground segment. The Canadian Space Agency and MDA jointly funded the construction and launch of the satellite. The CSA recovers this investment through the supply of RADARSAT-2 data to the Government of Canada during the lifetime of the mission.
The RCM satellite constellation has a design life of seven years providing benefits both for Canadians and for the entire world, as well as growing Canada’s global leadership position in space-based radar Earth observation.
MDA is an internationally recognized leader in space robotics, space sensors, satellite payloads, antennas and subsystems, surveillance and intelligence systems, defense 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.
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As a global leader of advanced space technology solutions, Maxar 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. The operations of DigitalGlobe, SSL and Radiant Solutions were unified under the Maxar brand in February; MDA continues to operate as an independent business unit within the Maxar organization. As a trusted partner with 5,900 employees in over 30 global locations, Maxar 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. 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 New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange as MAXR.