Canadian space tech company MDA (MDA Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:MDA) now has a few months under its belt after IPO-ing earlier this year, and while the sparks have yet to fly, portfolio manager John Zechner thinks the space and satellite sector has a long runway ahead of it. \u201cI like this one. It\u2019s the old MacDonald Dettwiler. They came back to the public markets this year,\u201d said Zechner, chairman and founder of J. Zechner Associates, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Monday.\u00a0 \u201cThe low-orbiting satellites is a great growth area. They've obviously got their equipment like the Canadarm and they\u2019ve built the infrastructure for this as well. The components and the software for analysis on low-Earth orbit satellites. It\u2019s a great growth area over the next couple years,\u201d Zechner said. US space tech name Maxar Technologies decided last year to get rid of its original business in MDA, the former MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, leaving it with DigitalGlobe satellite business, itself bought in 2017 for $3.1 billion.\u00a0 The buyers for MDA were a Canadian group of investors led by John Risley of Northern Private Capital and, among others, Jim Balsillie of Research in Motion fame. The $1-billion deal took MDA off the public markets for about a year until MDA had its initial public offering in April of this year. There, MDA issued about 28.6 million shares at $14.00 per share for gross proceeds of about $400 million, which was about $100 million under the company\u2019s reported original intention to raise $500 million selling shares at between $16 and $20 per share. "Today marks the beginning of an important chapter for MDA,\u201d said MDA CEO Mike Greenley in a press release marking the IPO. \u201cWith the rapid expansion of the global space economy over the next ten years, our world-leading expertise and capabilities are well aligned with the projected high growth sectors, such as space exploration, on-orbit servicing, space-based communications and Earth observation. We have the agility of a new space company coupled with an impressive track record that makes us a partner of choice in the emerging commercial space market.\u201d Zechner says the demand for satellite-based information keeps growing. \u201cA funny aside, I was just getting an estimate on getting our roof replaced. I've been in this house for 25 years and it's time to get it done. And the guy came the other day for the estimate and he says, \u2018Well, first, I\u2019ve got to get the pictures from the satellite\u2019 \u2014 they\u2019re doing everything from space, never mind defence and security and agriculture and everything else,\u201d Zechner said. \u201cSo much of what\u2019s important is being taken from these low level, satellites. I think there's great growth there in interpolating the data and generating it and using it is a great area of growth, and I think MDA is one of the few companies in Canada (now that we don't have a Maxar as a Canadian company anymore) where you're getting that capability,\u201d he said. \u201c at a decent valuation, too, generating free cash flow and probably a 25 per cent growth rate over the next five years,\u201d Zechner added. And while MDA\u2019s satellite tech and analysis capabilities are participating in the surge of interest in the sector, this week the company announced a contract for its Robotics and Space Operations segment for NASA\u2019s upcoming Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which aims at putting people back on the moon. MDA will provide lunar landing sensors to support missions by Intuitive Machines, putting MDA\u2019s sensors as part of the first soft landing US mission on the Moon in half a century. \u201cLanding technology has been a critical component of successful flight since the dawn of aviation and now, working with partners like Intuitive Machines, we are commercializing that technology for space flight,\u201d said Greenley in a press release. Since its debut in April, MDA\u2019s share price hasn\u2019t travelled far, dropping a bit below $14.50 in June before heading back to $16.00 more recently.\u00a0 The company released second quarter 2021 results earlier this month, showing a 15.5 per cent year-over-year increase in revenue to $126.7 million, marking three quarters in a row of topline growth. MDA\u2019s net loss was $0.1 million and adjusted EBITDA was $39.4 million compared to $44.6 million a year earlier. Broken down, the second quarter saw MDA's GeoIntelligence segment revenue come in at $48.2 million, Robotics and Space Operations revenue at $35.6 million and Satellite Systems revenue at $42.9 million. Satellite Systems was up a full 31 per cent from a year earlier. The Q2 featured new contract wins for Earth observation imagery and analytics, according to the company, with contracts coming from existing customers like the Canadian Space Agency and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Post-Q2, MDA announced a $35.3 million contract with the CSA for its Canadarm3 program, while the company\u2019s Satellite Systems segment received new subcontracts from Airbus and a contract with L3Harris Technologies and Lockheed Martin for antenna products. \u201cDriven by steady progress and momentum across the business, in the second quarter the Company delivered solid financial performance highlighted by double-digit revenue growth, gross margin improvements and robust Adjusted EBITDA margin performance of 31.1 per cent,\u201d said Greenley in a press release. \u201cWith affordable and available financing in place to fund our strategic growth, a strong balance sheet and a healthy pipeline of existing and new opportunities, MDA is ideally positioned to capitalize on market growth,\u201d he said.