MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., a provider of essential information solutions, announced today that the company has been awarded a contract for $1 million CDN from Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) for the design of a Canadian Space Surveillance System in support of DND’s Surveillance of Space Mission.

The Canadian Space Surveillance System known as SAPPHIRE will feature a space-based sensor that will provide observations of man-made objects and space debris in medium to high earth orbits (6,000 – 40,000 km). This data will be included in a space catalogue, maintained by NORAD, to provide space situational awareness.

The design phase of SAPPHIRE will last nine months. Should the proposed design be accepted for implementation, it is expected that delivery of SAPPHIRE will take place in the 2009 – 2010 timeframe. The total value of the system, including support, operations and maintenance, is expected to be about $66 million CDN.

This is the fifth small satellite mission that MDA is involved in, making MDA a leading small satellite information mission provider. Other missions include the preliminary stages of two other small satellite information missions: the Canadian Hyperspectral Environment and Resource Observer and the RADARSAT Follow-On; and also the complete build of the CASSIOPE and RapidEye missions.

About MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA)

MDA provides businesses and governments around the world with essential information solutions used for decision making. Operating from offices across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., MDA is active in data collection, information extraction, and information distribution.