Loft Orbital on Aug. 4 announced a contract to provide the spacecraft platform and arrange a launch for a Canadian quantum communications experiment.
The Canadian government is investing 85 million Canadian dollars ($64.7 million) into research and development for Telesat’s broadband satellite constellation, and has agreed to spend up to 600 million Canadian dollars ($456.6 million) more on capacity.
The Canadian Space Agency — NASA’s first international partner to commit to the lunar Gateway — is considering a faster schedule for its contributions to keep pace with NASA’s accelerated plans.
The Canadian government has vowed to increase the level of funding for the development of low Earth orbit satellites that can bring internet services to rural parts of the country.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Wednesday that Canada would be partnering with NASA and spending 2 billion Canadian dollars ($1.4 billion) over 24 years on the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway and other space programs.
NASA’s top official came to Canada to make his pitch for the country to become involved in a U.S.-lead lunar space mission but that direct appeal didn’t budge Canadian government officials, at least for now.
The Canadian military, already a partner on two U.S. military satellite communications systems, is in discussions to use a third constellation that was until recently a U.S.-only system.
Both American and Canadian officials said they’re optimistic about continued strong cooperation between their nations’ space programs despite trade and other disputes.
Maxar Technologies on July 16 purchased Neptec, a Canadian company with robotic expertise deemed useful for in-space activities like satellite servicing and building space stations.
Telesat and MDA will be requesting money from the Canadian government’s new special fund to finance low-Earth-orbit satellite systems, officials from both companies say.
The Canadian government hopes to release its new space strategy in the coming months but in the meantime has provided $20 million in research funding for domestic space companies and universities.