BRAMPTON, ON, Feb. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ - MDA, a Maxar Technologies company (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX: MAXR), today applauded the announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) minister Navdeep Bains that Canada will join the Lunar Gateway program, a major international initiative led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to return to the Moon. Canada will provide artificial intelligence-based robotics for the Lunar Gateway, extending the Canadarm program for another generation. In addition to the Lunar Gateway announcement, the government announced a number of other space initiatives and committed to unveiling a long-term space strategy in the coming days. Canada's commitment to the Lunar Gateway program totals CAD $2.05 billion over the duration of the program.
The Lunar Gateway will be a Moon-orbiting outpost that will support persistent human activity on the lunar surface and serve as short-term habitat for astronauts, a communications node, a science laboratory and a staging ground for exploration into deeper space. The first elements of the Lunar Gateway will launch in 2022, and construction will take place over the next several years.
"We are extremely pleased to see the Government of Canada continue our country's leadership role on the international space team, and to advance Canada's unique world leadership position in space robotics," said Mike Greenley, Group President of MDA. "MDA is honoured to have been the provider of space robotics to the Canadian government for over 35 years on the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station."
The "Canadarm3" robotics on the Lunar Gateway will be essential for critical operations and maintenance of this new international space station, on both the outside and inside of the station, and will consist of a larger manipulator arm and a smaller dexterous arm. Whereas the current International Space Station (ISS) operates approximately 400 kilometres from Earth, the Lunar Gateway will orbit the Moon approximately 400,000 kilometres from Earth, requiring a significant advancement in robotic and autonomous control systems and capabilities. Because of this great distance, the highly specialized Canadian contribution to the Lunar Gateway program will leverage the Canadian industrial base expertise in both space robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) – two areas where Canadian firms and academic organizations are established international leaders.
"Over 500 companies across Canada participated in the ISS robotics program," added Mr. Greenley. "We expect a similarly robust and diverse pan-Canadian supply chain will form to execute Canada's commitment to the Lunar Gateway, including Canada's strong AI community."
MDA has conducted a number of early concept studies for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on the Lunar Gateway robotics solution over the past several years, as well as a survey of Canadian firms that could be engaged to deliver this capability. In 2018, MDA conducted its own industry day to meet with key industrial suppliers across Canada to explore this potential space robotics opportunity. MDA estimates that the Lunar Gateway program will create 10,000 person-years of employment over the duration of the program involving high quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs in Canada as a result of this commitment by Canada. Furthermore, this flagship program will enable follow-on exports and commercialization in the new space economy and enhance industrial competitiveness on the global stage.
Canada's world-renowned space robotics and on-orbit servicing capabilities span more than 35 years, including more than 90 on-orbit servicing missions with Canadarm as part of the Space Shuttle program, plus 18 years of continual robotic operations using Canadarm2 and Dextre to build and maintain the International Space Station. In return for Canada's contribution of space robotics, Canada was offered astronaut flights – to date, nine Canadian astronauts have flown on 17 spaceflight missions.
MDA has been part of an initiative called Don't Let Go Canada, a coalition of close to 70 space companies, associations, student groups, academia and labour that has called on the government to announce a long-term space strategy and investment in Canada's space program in order to extend Canada's leadership in space, secure tomorrow's STEM jobs and to position Canada to succeed in the emerging $1 trillion commercial space economy.
MDA is an internationally recognized leader in space robotics, space sensors, satellite payloads, antennas and subsystems, surveillance and intelligence systems, defence 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. MDA is a Maxar Technologies company (TSX: MAXR) (NYSE: MAXR). For more information visit www.mdacorporation.com.
About Maxar Technologies
As a global leader of advanced space technology solutions, Maxar Technologies 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. As a trusted partner, Maxar Technologies 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. With more than 6,100 employees in over 30 global locations, the Maxar Technologies portfolio of commercial space brands includes MDA, SSL, DigitalGlobe and Radiant Solutions. 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. For more information, visit www.maxar.com.
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SOURCE Maxar Technologies Ltd.