Recently at the Canadian SmallSat Symposium both Planet and KSAT threatened to pull ground station assets out of Canada by June 1 if progress hadn’t been made in approving their licenses. Then news came from New North Networks, the company which manages the ground station infrastructure in Inuvik, that they had heard from Global Affairs Canada and that an approval of sorts had been received. However, as it turns out, and as New North CEO Tom Zubko told SpaceQ last week, it wasn’t quite the approval they had been hoping for.
On February 21, Zubko seemingly had reason to be encouraged. He had received notification from Global Affairs Canada with news on the licensing of ground station assets owned by Planet and KSAT which his company manages in Inuvik. He relayed that information to SpaceQ mid-afternoon the following day. Zubko told SpaceQ that approval to move forward had been received. He cautioned though that details and conditions had not yet been received. He was cautiously optimistic.
In a follow-up email SpaceQ received last week, Zubko said he “the approval received from the Minister was actually an approval from the Minister for GAC (Global Affairs Canada) to begin negotiations on a license.”
He also stated that he wasn’t sure what that meant “as there are no provisions in the RSSSA (Remote Sensing Space Systems Act) legislation or regulations covering such action.”