ABB Canada will provide key technologies in the development of an instrument to be used to make meteorological observations onboard satellites for the Canadian Space Agency’s Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) mission.
Currently there are limitations to the short-term weather forecasts, long-term climate predictions, and other services offered in the high Arctic by existing satellites, particularly with respect to mobile communications for ships, planes and unmanned aerial vehicles. This is due to the positions and orbits of the various satellites used for climate monitoring and communications.
To help improve these services, the PCW mission aims to place two satellites into a highly elliptical orbit approximately 39,900 km above the North Pole to provide reliable and continuous communication services and to monitor weather and climate changes throughout the Arctic region.
This R&D contract for a multi-spectral imager is worth $5.7 million and was awarded by the Canadian Space Agency through the Space Technologies Development Program (STDP).
The technologies that ABB will develop are similar to those currently under development for the next generation of geostationary weather satellites. ABB plans to award important subcontracts to seven Canadian firms active in optical instrumentation and space.
“We are delighted that our team was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to develop key technologies for the PCW weather payload,” said Marc-Andre Soucy, Manager of ABB’s Remote Sensing division. “Space-based and ground-based atmospheric instrumentation is a core business at ABB Canada, and this contract will strengthen our position within this market. Canada is a large territory, which not only makes satellites a practical solution for weather forecasting and telecommunication services for our communities, but such satellites also provide the infrastructure to bolster our sovereignty in the Arctic region.”
The Polar Communications and Weather mission will put two satellites in a highly elliptical orbit over the North Pole to provide reliable and continuous 24/7 communication services and monitor weather and climate changes in the entire Arctic region. Launch could come as early as 2017 although the project is not yet fully funded.