Montreal based NorStar Space Data Inc. announced in late August that it had secured $52M in first round financing that included $13M from the government of Quebec.
NorthStar is NorStar
The company has quietly been developing a concept for a constellation of 40 earth observing satellites since 2012.
The constellation NorStar is developing is called NorthStar, which can be confusing at times as much of the marketing material uses the NorthStar name without the company name.
The NorthStar satellites would feature hyperspectral, thermal infrared, and optical sensors and would be larger in size than many of the proposed nanosatellite constellations. The satellites would be in multiple planes in LEO (500-700 km) and in a near polar orbit.
NorStar appears to be targeting two distinct markets, a commercial market that could include customers form the oil & gas, mining, forestry, water management, agriculture and insurance segments to name a few, as well as civil government, defense and intelligence segments with data that would included Space Situational Awareness datasets.
NorStar plans on having its primary data center and business operation in Montreal. Ground infrastructure would include what it calls Remote AGILE Centers globally.
NorStar defines its as AGILE Centers as Applications for Global Innovation and Leadership (AGILE) as “a concept to make access to NorthStar data accessible to potential developers and resellers around the globe.”
Information on the status of the company, in particular funding, has been scarce. Publicly we know that in April of 2016 NorStar was awarded a contribution from the Canadian Space Agency in the amount of $971,704 to “develop the ground based data analysis tools for image processing” for space debris.
Dominique Anglade, Quebec Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minster responsible for the Digital Strategy said of the $13M investment by the government “the growth of the aerospace industry and the information and communications technologies sector is directly linked to the capacity of businesses to innovate and market their innovative products. NorthStar is one of these avant-garde companies that is undertaking promising projects for these industries. Our government is thus proud to be associated with the implementation of its major project, which, in addition to creating quality jobs in Montréal, will promote abroad Québec expertise in the realms of innovation and the digital technologies.”
NorStar CEO Stewart Bain said “we are pleased to announce our partnership with Quebec. NorthStar was conceived to address the vital need of monitoring and managing Earth’s environment and natural resources, and deliver advanced information solutions.”
The press release additionally said that the “funds will be used to develop information products and applications for markets in need of timely knowledge for critical decision making, in areas such as agriculture, forestry, energy, transportation, water quality, advanced maritime awareness, and space situational awareness.”
As to the other $39M in funding, NorStar has not released the names as of yet as to who the other investors are. We do know though that Montreal based Telesystem Ltd. and KinetX Inc. based in Tempe, Arizona are shareholders of the company.