The intent of the work is to “enhance the capacity of an existing satellite constellation,” presumably the recently jeopardized Radarsat Constellation Mission, which faced an uncertain future after a $60-million cutback to the Canadian Space Agency in 2012’s budget. The announcement is good news for COM DEV, which as recently as October announced the layoff of 31 employees and the transfer of 10 others as a response to a lack of future contracts. The bad news affected everyone in Canada’s space-tech sector, with MacDonald Dettwiler itself shedding over 100 jobs in addition to the CSA’s cutbacks.
“We are pleased to have been awarded this contract from one of our long-term customers,” stated Mike Williams, President of COM DEV International Products. “This reflects our acknowledged expertise in providing communication satellite components with the highest quality and efficiency and the continued trends in the marketplace for increased capacity.”
The announcement follows a pre-Christmas about-face on the part of the federal government, in the form of a decision to reinvigorate Radarsat, funneling money from departments which will benefit from data collected by the satellites, including Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada and National Defence, to make up the gap in funding.
COM DEV specializes in space-based wireless communications products and electronic and optical instruments for Earth observation. The initial $5.1 is intended to cover engineering and procurement activities. An optional $10-plus million is slated for a replacement flight set after the disbursement of the $11 million.