COM DEV, Now a Part of Honeywell Charts a New Course in Canada

Honeywell's Cambridge office, formerly COM DEV International. Credit: Com Dev/Honeywell.

Honeywell is a global company with over 130,000 employees of which about 3600 are based in Canada. In 2015 the company announced it was acquiring Cambridge, Ontario based COM DEV. It was seen as a smart move at the time.

My guest on the SpaceQ Podcast this week is Marina Mississian, Senior Director Space Payloads at Honeywell Aerospace. Marina is a veteran from the COM DEV era, and has now worked 26 years between COM DEV and Honeywell.

Of the 3,600 Honeywell Aerospace workforce in Canada, the majority are based in Ontario, and around 500 work in the space division.

The acquisition of COM DEV by Honeywell seemed to be a good move on Honeywell’s part at the time, but by 2017 the market that COM DEV served, primarily the GEO Communication satellite market, had imploded with GEO satellite orders down by almost 75%. Honeywell reacted by right-sizing the COM DEV assets, laying off nearly half the staff.

Since then the company has been reinventing itself. Recently they announced a new Greenhouse Incubator to be based in Ottawa. While a number of locations were considered for the incubator, including in the US, Honeywell decided on Canada for a variety of factors including government incentives.

The decisions was also made to setup a manufacturing line in Cambridge for their new Reaction Wheels which were designed in the US. A primary customer for those Reaction Wheels is OneWeb. Now the next-generation Reaction Wheels are being developed at the Greenhouse Incubator in Ottawa.

Another technology being developed at the Greenhouse is optical communications links. That technology is destined to be used on the Telesat satellite constellation.

All the new technologies being developed in Canada are being designed not for one system, but to be used and sold to as many customers as they can find.

In my conversation with Marina we discuss the events of the past few years, how Honeywell has reimagined its Canadian space operations, what the Greenhouse Incubator will do, and how the company plans to move forward.

Listen in.

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About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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