MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
announced today that the company is the prime contractor to develop
& operate Canada’s first multi-purpose information delivery and scientific
research small satellite mission.

Called CASSIOPE, this innovative mission will build a small satellite
spacecraft platform that will be adaptable for a wide range of missions,
including science, technology, Earth Observation, geological exploration and
high capacity information delivery.

Scientists, led by the University of Calgary, will use the satellite to
collect new data and details on space storms in the upper atmosphere and their
potentially devastating impacts on radio communications, GPS navigation, and
other space-based technologies. This innovative scientific probe, called ePOP,
forms a key element of the Canadian Space Agency’s science program and
involves contributions from 10 Canadian universities and research

CASSIOPE will also demonstrate a potential new information delivery
service called Cascade that will allow very large amounts of information to be
delivered to decision-makers anywhere in the world. Future operational
missions could deliver a commercial “digital package delivery service” to
customers ranging from resource exploration companies to the military.

MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) of Richmond, B.C. will lead a
Canadian industrial team expected to include EMS Technologies of Montreal and
COM DEV Space of Cambridge, Ontario in the development of the CASSIOPE

The estimated value of the program is over $100 million, with investment
from the Canadian Space Agency and Technology Partnerships Canada. The
Canadian Space Agency is providing $63 million and Technology Partnerships
Canada $77.2 million of which $29 million is dedicated for future operational
Cascade missions.

MDA President and CEO Daniel Friedmann commented: “This mission
represents a key milestone for MDA, as we continue our expansion into the
small satellite missions market. CASSIOPE also allows the demonstration of a
new and exciting information delivery service.”

Cassiope is scheduled for launch in 2007.

For more information, please consult the attached backgrounders.

Related Web sites:


The CASSIOPE Mission

MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) is developing a space mission around a new
generation of smaller cost-effective satellites. Cassiope is a multifunctional
mission designed to serve both a scientific and a commercial purpose.

Scheduled for launch in 2007, this small satellite mission will feature
the first in a new generation of multi-purpose satellite platforms that will
be adaptable for use in a variety of future Canadian space missions.

MDA is the prime contractor for the space and ground infrastructure for
the CASSIOPE Mission including system engineering, design, assembly,
integration, testing, launch and operation of the spacecraft.

The mission is being developed with the support of the CSA and Technology
Partnerships Canada and the world-class capabilities of a Canadian industrial
team. MDA’s involvement in CASSIOPE strengthens the company position as a
small satellite mission supplier in Canada and abroad.

The technologies and processes developed through the CASSIOPE mission
will assist in placing Canadian companies at the forefront of small satellite


The Cassiope Mission will carry the experimental Cascade payload to
demonstrate the world’s first commercial space-based digital courier service.
When proven, future operational missions will provide a large-scale data
transfer service to remote commercial, civil and military clients anywhere in
the world.

Similar to the operations of a traditional courier company, Cascade will
pick-up a parcel at close of business day, and deliver it to geographically
dispersed destinations before work starts the next day. The difference is that
the service will utilize a small satellite and the packages will be very large
digital data files. This groundbreaking “Courier-in-the-Sky” will support the
transfer of digital data files 50 to 500 Gigabytes at a time, equivalent to 50
to 500 pickup trucks filled with paper.

Initially, one Low Earth Orbit satellite will orbit above the Earth at an
altitude of 300 to 1,500 km once every 1.5 hours, providing multiple
opportunities each day for the pick-up and delivery of data anywhere on Earth.
As demand increases, capacity can be expanded by adding additional satellites.

Cascade is accessed through small turnkey terminals with built-in mass
storage capacity and 1-2 metre antennas. The terminal communicates with the
Cascade control centre to schedule pickup and confirm delivery. As the
satellite comes overhead, the data is transmitted at 1.2 gigabits per second –
12 times faster than the operating speed of most office LANs. At that speed,
the contents of a typical music CD would be transferred in a little over 4
seconds and a full length DVD movie in little more than a minute. This point-
to-point delivery system ensures a high degree of security. Cassiope will
operate in the higher frequency Ka-Band radio spectrum providing greater


Developed by a scientific team led by the University of Calgary, ePOP
will be Canada’s first space environment sensor suite, providing Canadian
scientists with the opportunity to understand the impact the variability of
the Sun has on the space environment.

ePOP will carry a suite of eight scientific instruments, including plasma
sensors, radio wave receivers, magnetometers, CCD cameras, and a beacon
transmitter. The ePOP payload will lead to a comprehensive understanding of
plasma processes in the polar ionosphere – a region in the upper atmosphere.
For more information see ePOP backgrounder.

About MDA

CASSIOPE forms part of a rapidly developing small satellite capability at
MacDonald Dettwiler, combining MDA’s strong engineering background and sound
management practices to provide low-cost, high reliability access to space.

This emerging capability will further add to MacDonald Dettwiler’s space
pedigree, which has seen the company develop the Canadarm for the US Space
Shuttle, the Mobile Servicing System for the International Space Station and
RADARSAT-2 – Canada’s next generation remote sensing satellite.

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