Canadian Manufacturing

MDA, Neptec win CSA contracts for remote sensing, measuring projects

Neptec working on Canada's contribution to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency space observatory

April 24, 2014  by Canadian Manufacturing Staff

VANCOUVER and LONGUEIL, Que.—A pair of Canadian firms have won contracts from the federal space agency for work on measuring and remote sensing projects.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) said it has awarded a $1.35-million contract to Ontario’s Neptec Design Group for work on Canada’s contribution to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) next-generation space observatory.

According to the CSA, Neptec is building the Canadian ASTRO-H Metrology System (CAMS), an innovative measuring system that will be used to calibrate the observatory’s main telescope and enhance the images it captures.

ASTRO-H marks the first time Canada is part of an X-ray astronomy mission.


The telescope is designed to explore mysterious phenomena in the universe, including black holes, neutron stars, and how galaxies were formed.

Neptec began work on CAMS in 2010, and is responsible for designing, manufacturing, assembling and testing the system for delivery to Japan.

The company will also provide support for spacecraft integration in Tsukuba, Japan.

The CAMS is scheduled to be delivered by late 2014, with the observatory set to launch in late 2015.

The total value of the Neptec contract is estimated at $8-million over seven years.

A separate deal awarded by the CSA will see MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) develop the mission concept for an operational Canadian Hyperspectral Mission (CHM).

MDA will lead a team working to develop a satellite constellation concept to collect hyperspectral imagery around the globe—and specifically in Canada and its coastal waters—on a weekly basis.

The mission aims to monitor territorial sovereignty and national security, help manage environmental change.

Hyperspectral imaging gathers much richer and sophisticated information about the world’s oceans, lakes, land and vegetation, according to MDA, by collecting the full spectrum of light reflected from the earth’s surface and separates it into dozens of spectral “bands.”

Analyzing the spectral bands reflected by a feature on the ground can help determine its composition and evolution, providing critical information to environmental, security and natural resource decision makers.

“A Canadian operational hyperspectral mission can provide tremendous value to Canada resulting in a leap forward in national security, sovereignty and economic prosperity for all Canadians,” MDA group vice-president of information systems Don Osborne said in a company statement.

“We have assembled a strong team of Canada’s leading space technology companies to demonstrate to the world how innovative Canada can be in the emerging domain of hyperspectral remote sensing.”

A contract value for the MDA deal was not provided.