According to an Ottawa Citizen article published yesterday the projected costs of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) have jumped from $600 million to over $1 billion . The report with the current costs was obtained by the Citizen under the Access to Information law.
“The RCM project was originally estimated at $600M, and has been authorized $200M in expenditure through Preliminary Design Review,” points out a 2010 briefing note for DND’s deputy minister Robert Fonberg. “While revised cost estimates for RCM vary, on average they reflect a project cost of over $1B(illion).”
While the government has consistently said it supports RCM, at present there are no contracts in place for the next phase, which is the build phase. In fact right after the Conservatives released the governments budget on March 29th, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) issued a statement stating that with the uncertainty moving forward it was going to take “steps to restructure its work force related to this event”, meaning moving people laterally in the company and laying off others.
The RADARSAT Constellation mission is a three-satellite configuration and has been designed for three main uses:
– Maritime surveillance (ice, wind, oil pollution and ship monitoring);
– Disaster management (mitigation, warning, response and recovery); and
– Ecosystem monitoring (forestry, agriculture, wetlands and coastal change monitoring).