The Prime Minister Visits Facility Housing Canada’s Billion Dollar Satellite Constellation

Prime Minister Trudeau at MDA. Credit: Canadian Space Agency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the third Canadian leader since the flagship billion dollar RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) was approved in 2004. This past week on a visit to Montreal, he stopped by MDA’s facility to see the satellites and take a tour of where some of Canada’s innovation in space products takes place.

The visit was not an opportunity to make a funding announcement. If that had been the case, then the minister in charge of the space portfolio, ISED Minister Naveep Bains, would have been there.

Prime Minister Trudeau takes times at MDA for some selfies
The Prime Minister Trudeau takes times at MDA for some selfies. Credit: MDA.

No, this was an opportunity to see where some of the billion dollars of tax money for RCM had been spent over the course of the 14 year project before the satellites are wrapped up and shipped to California for their November launch. That launch will be provided by SpaceX using a Falcon 9 rocket with all three satellites onboard and will liftoff from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

It was also an opportunity for MDA’s Group President, and tour host, Mike Greenley, to showcase and explain what MDA does and why it’s important to the economy to one the person who can ultimately sway a decision for funding a major project in Cabinet.

The Prime Minister tweeted afterwards that “the satellites being built at @MDA_maxar in QC will help us measure the effects of climate change, monitor the oceans, and provide valuable information when natural disasters strike. It was great to learn about the Canadian tech & workers behind them before they head into space.”

In a press release issued by MDA parent company Maxar, Mike Greenley said “the RADARSAT program, including RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2, has put Canada and MDA in a global leadership position for space-based radar technology and applications, and RCM will to extend and enhance this position. This program would not be possible without contributions from across MDA’s facilities and employees in Richmond, Brampton, Halifax, Montreal and St. Hubert, and our supplier chain of more than 125 Canadian companies in seven provinces.”

And therein lies part another part of the message delivered by MDA, jobs, the RCM program is a major government program that created good jobs, not just at MDA, but other companies like Magellan in Winnipeg.

As summer winds down and thoughts of fall already looming, the political summer siesta, such as it is, will be over and members of parliament will be back in Ottawa. Will the fall see movement on the space file? Will a successful launch of RCM be an occasion to announce a renewed commitment to space? Will funding follow for another major project or a series of smaller projects? Stay tuned.

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactice Inc. Boucher has 18 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 25 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.