The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Marc Garneau, President, CSA, today announced details of funding in the 2005 federal budget for the development and construction of a series of three Earth observation satellites.

The satellites will monitor environmental impacts on Earth, promote sustainable development and help ensure Canadian sovereignty and security for decades to come.

In the 2005 federal budget, the Government of Canada committed $3 billion for research, regional development and sectoral support. The CSA will receive $111 million of that amount to dedicate to this initiative.

“The Government of Canada is committed to promoting the space component of our aerospace sector through the development of applications that are relevant to Canadians, such as monitoring climate change impacts and protecting our sovereignty,” said Minister Emerson. “The Canadian Space Program’s leadership in developing and promoting Earth observation applications will increase Canadians’ security and provide a better understanding of the environmental health of our country, both now and in the future.”

This three-satellite radar constellation will benefit Canada and other nations by providing more timely and comprehensive data than is currently available, and the ability to track ice conditions and support ship navigation in the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes and along Canadian coastlines. It will also support disaster management by detecting oil spills, monitoring floods, aiding forest firefighting, and providing information on the evolution of disaster areas worldwide. The radar constellation will ensure Canadian sovereignty and security through coastal surveillance by satellite in all weather conditions.

“Canada’s space community has already demonstrated its leadership in remote sensing through the development of RADARSAT-1 and its successor, RADARSAT-2,” said Dr. Garneau. “This constellation will provide more frequent coverage over all of Canada – day and night and in all weather conditions – ensuring radar data continuity for both private and public users well into the next two decades.”

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

Backgrounder: A Constellation of Canadian Radar Satellites