Cooperation Agreement Between MDA and Thoth to Enable Deep Space Radar Surveillance and Space Domain Awareness

File photo: Alliance Rationales & Roadblocks: A U.S. - Canada Space Study. Credit: The Aerospace Corporation.

MDA and Thoth Technology have entered into a strategic cooperation agreement that would enable deep space radar surveillance and space domain awareness from what they state would be “Canada’s first ground-based radar capable of monitoring Resident Space Objects in geosynchronous orbit.”

Thoth Technology has been around for around 22 years and during that time has pivoted with respect to technology development. As an an example In 2015 they were granted a patent for a “space elevator,” with that concept being shelved.

By the following year though they had begun upgrading the Algonquin Radio Observatory and signed a contract with ComSpOC, then a part of AGI (now ANSYS), “to advance the state of radar tracking of Geostationary (GEO) satellites and debris.” In 2018 AGI announced they had entered into an agreement with Thoth Technology for the “World’s First Commercial Deep Space Radar.” ComSpOC in 2020 become a separate company from ANSYS.

In 2020 Thoth Technology, alongside MDA, was a participant in the DND Space 2 Ground Based Optical (GBO) Segment RFI. The RFI for the Surveillance of Space II Ground Base Optical RFI 2 is ongoing.

With Thoth’s history and technology, and MDA’s ongoing interest in space domain awareness, it seems the two have found common ground to work together for the benefit of both.

In their press release MDA stated that, “MDA commercial data services will be integrated with Thoth’s ground-based radar technology to provide unprecedented levels of sovereign monitoring in deep space over Canada, providing both detection and characterization of space objects.”

The press release further states that “Thoth uses a unique ground-based radar to characterize objects in geosynchronous orbit (GEO). This new radar technology, called Earthfence, detects and characterizes Resident Space Objects (RSOs) in GEO to provide situational awareness for a region 36,000 km away from Earth.” An abstract (PDF) on the technology authored by Brendan Quine and Caroline Roberts of Thoth Technology, along with Lauchie Scott, DRDC, provides more detail on Earthfence.

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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