RCMP charges former Canadian Space Agency employee after alleging he helped a Chinese company

Wanping Zheng, AKA James Zheng, Spacety. Credit: Space Iceland.

Wanping Zheng, a former Canadian Space Agency (CSA) engineer, has been charged by the RCMP for breach of trust and will appear in a Longueuil court on December 15.

The RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement team (INSET) started its investigation in October 2019 upon being informed by the CSA’s Departmental Security.

The RCMP said in a statement that “Mr. Zheng allegedly used his status as a CSA engineer to negotiate agreements for the installation of satellite station facilities in Iceland. He allegedly acted on behalf of a Chinese aerospace company.”

According to his LinkedIn profile Wanping Zheng, AKA James Zheng, was a Logistics Engineering Supervisor at the CSA. The CSA said he was fired in 2019.

Since his firing, Zheng was hired by Spacety, a Chinese satellite services company. The company recently announced plans for a 96 SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite constellation with both C-band and X-band radar. In December 2020 Spacety’s first SAR sensor was launched on the Hisea-1 satellite.

According to Zheng’s LinkedIn profile he became CEO of Spacety’s international operations headquartered in Luxembourg in January 2020. Spacety was one of China’s first commercial companies when it was founded in 2016 and is based on the outskirts of Beijing in an area known as “Space City.”

A February 4, 2021 video on YouTube from Space Iceland features Zheng discussing Spacety and their products.

The CSA provided the following statement:

“On December 7, 2021 a former employee of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was charged with breach of trust by a public officer.”

“The CSA takes the security of information and people very seriously. When concerns about this individual’s private activities outside of their employment arose, the CSA took actions, including an internal inquiry and restricting access to information. As measures increased, the employment ceased, in 2019.”

“The CSA brought forward its concerns to the RCMP and has actively collaborated with the investigation. We cannot comment further on a matter before the court.”

“From the onset, the CSA took appropriate measures as an employer, and continues to strengthen security measures to protect information, individuals and assets in support of its trusted delivery of government programs and services. The CSA is confident that these measures protect against the threat of improper disclosure of information including those in violation of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Directive on Conflict of Interest.”

CBC The National News report on the case.

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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