The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State makes the announcement. Credit: SpaceRef.

The Government Invests $13.1 Million in 38 Space Technology Development Projects

This past Friday the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) announced at the headquarters of COM DEV International that the government had selected 21 companies and 38 research and development projects to fund as part of the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) Space Technology Development Program (STDP).

The technologies funded by the STPD program are those the government thinks are a priority and could be viable for future export markets.

The value of the announcement is just shy of $13.1 million and it should be noted that each company must also contribute a minimum of 25% of the total value of its project.

Thirteen Ontario companies received 23 of the 38 projects funded for a value of just over $8.2 million.

COM DEV CEO Michael Pley discusses the funding of seven COM DEV R&D projects.

COM DEV, based out of Cambridge, Ontario received just over $3.2 million for seven projects, the most of any company and which would explain the venue selection.

Michael Pley, CEO of COM DEV made note of two particularly exciting projects, the Flexible Space Situational Awareness Payload Development which will enable better orbital debris detection and tracking. The other project he highlighted was the Additive Manufacturing (3d-printing) Capability Development which he described as “world changing type of technology that will make a huge difference.” COM DEV provided some examples of their 3D-printed satellite parts.

Neptec of Ottawa was the only other Ontario company to receive more than one project funded. They had five projects funded for a value of just over $1.2 million.

Six Quebec companies had 10 proposals funded for a value of just over $2.7 million. MDA which has offices in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC and Richmond, BC had three proposals selected for its Quebec office and two for the Richmond office for a value of $1.8 million. NGC Aérospatiale Ltée of Sherbrooke had 2 proposals selected for a value of $360k.

UrtheCast of BC had two proposals selected for a value of $1.2 million and SED Systems of Saskatoon was the only company outside of Ontario, Quebec and BC to receive funding.

Also present at the announcement were two smaller Ontario companies.

Aflare Systems, which received the smallest contract valued at $82k, is developing flight software for small unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites. Roman Ronge, President of Aflare said “this investment will help Aflare Systems to develop flight management and safety systems to support fail-safe measures for small unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites. This new system will provide additional monitoring of potential failures and allow spacecraft operators or a redundant system to take corrective measures.”

Small satellites are a hot topic at the moment and several of the selected projects related to technology development for this market.

This includes Canadensys who were also present. Canadensys received $199k for developing technology to help micro and nano-class satellites with energy storage and thermal management. Founder Christian Sallaberger said “we got support for some work were doing developing energy storage and for cold temperature environments in space, one of the critical areas still to be solved, and its through the STDP program that we’re able to leverage that internal investment we’re making to develop commercial products.”

While the announcement for this program was made this week, another program announcement was made earlier in the week to fund up to 11 other priority technologies. The value of those contracts would be around $5 million and a selection announcement would be made towards the end of July or in August.

Below are the 38 projects funded in this STDP round.

Company R&D Project R&D Objective Value of Project
ABB Ltd.
Location: Saint-LaurentQC
Multi-Spectral Imager for highly elliptical orbits and geostationary orbits This investment will help to advance the design of a Canadian meteorological imager instrument and adapt it to be compatible with future satellite missions.
  • CSAcontribution: $596,256
  • ABB: $198,751
  • Total value: $795,007
Aflare SystemsInc.
Location: Brampton, ON
Imperator FMS(IFMS) – Flight Management and Control System Software Application for unmanned aerial vehicle & small satellites This project will develop flight management and safety systems to support fail-safe measures for small unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites. This new system will provide additional monitoring of potential failures and allow spacecraft operators or a redundant system to take corrective measures.
  • CSAcontribution: $81,995
  • Aflare Systems: $28,445
  • Total value: $110,440
Bubble Technology Industries (BTI)Inc.
Location: Chalk River, ON
Feasibility Study of Multi-Agent Field Analyzer for Space Applications (MAFASA) The company will do a feasibility study on developing a new technique to identify components from geological samples gathered in the course of a manned or robotic exploration of extraterrestrial bodies such as Mars, the Moon, or an asteroid.
  • CSAcontribution: $401,833
  • BTI: $153,448
  • Total value: $555,281
BTI Inc.
Location: Chalk River, ON
Risk Reduction Activities for the Canadian High-Energy Neutron Spectrometry System II(CHENSS II) This project will support R&D on a new, improved instrument to more accurately study the energy distribution of neutron radiation onboard the International Space Station (ISS). These measurements will help characterize the radiation exposure experienced by astronauts so that methods can be developed to mitigate the effects.
  • CSAcontribution: $200,000
  • BTI: 116,247
  • Total value: 316,247
Canadensys Aerospace Corporation
Location: Toronto, ON
Advanced Thermal & Energy Storage Technologies for Survival & Operations of Low-Cost Missions in Deep Space This project will examine small-scale energy storage and thermal management technologies capable of operating at very cold temperatures. This will enable future micro- and nano-class space missions to survive in the extreme thermal environment of deep space.
  • CSAcontribution: $199,997
  • Canadensys : $67,160
  • Total value: $267,157
CM Labs Simulations Inc.
Location: Montreal, QC
Collision detection and content creation technologies for high fidelity grasping simulations The project will enhance the realism and flexibility of the space robotics simulator used for astronaut training and mission planning for robotic operations on the ISS.
  • CSAContribution: $199,468
  • CM Labs: $66,855
  • Total value: $266,323
COM DEV International Ltd.
Location: Ottawa, ON
Micro-Spectrometer for Atmospheric Remote Sensing< /td> The project will develop a compact spectrometer to measure of Green House Gases in the atmosphere. This spectrometer will be compatible with nanosatellite, microsatellite and hosted payload applications as well as aviation and terrestrial applications.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • COM DEV: $200,000
  • Total value: $800,000
COM DEV International Ltd.
Location: Cambridge, ON
Dyson Spectrometer Prototype Development The project will develop an innovative prototype spectrometer for microsatellite based, hyperspectral imaging applications that will be able to achieve low distortion performance over a large field-of-view.  The proposed approach contains fewer optical elements than other approaches and is configured in a compact format with modest demands for weight, volume, and cooling resources which make it make it very attractive for microsatellite applications as well as for aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle applications.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • COM DEV: $200,000
  • Total value: $800,000
COM DEV International Ltd.
Location: Cambridge, ON
Smart Switch Interface This project is to develop new interface options for COM DEV’s switch space product family. The primary objective is to allow the switch products to become CANBus compatible – where CANBus, an already widely accepted communications protocol designed for many electronic products used in aerospace, automotive, maritime, medical and industrial automation equipments, is now being more broadly reviewed for space payload incorporation – therein offering “smart switch” product portfolio enhancement.
  • CSAcontribution: $458,411
  • COM DEV: $152,804
  • Total value: $611,215
COM DEV International Ltd.
Location: Cambridge, ON
Flexible Space Situational Awareness Payload Development The project will demonstrate paradigm-changing technologies relating to the viewing, understanding and predicting the physical location of near-earth objects.  The project will implement advanced photon detection technologies and advanced image processing methods to improve detection performance and achieve significant reduction in image exposure time.  The technologies will be directly applicable to space situational awareness applications as well as applications in space astronomy.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • COM DEV: $200,000
  • Total value: $800,000
COM DEV International Ltd.

tion: Cambridge, ON

Advanced Channel Combiner Technologies The objective of this project is to create more efficient and advanced Ku band channel combiner to improve telecommunications satellites performance. Ku band is used in particular to deliver internet and television signals to end-users and is therefore in high demand. Advancements like those proposed in this activity will increase capacity and feasibility of novel combiner configurations.
  • CSAcontribution: $443,827
  • COM DEV: $147,943
  • Total value: $591,770
COM DEV International Ltd.
Location: Cambridge, ON
Additive Manufacturing Capability Development With this project COM DEV will qualify aluminum material additive manufacturing and evaluate its application/benefit for both commercial satellite communications market products such as waveguide switch components (a structure allowing to redirect signals), and  for science mission market products, more specifically beam steering mirror mounts. Current manufacturing techniques for waveguide switches are difficult, take multiple machines and setups and are challenging to manufacture. Anticipated benefits of this technology versus the current manufacturing techniques include mass, size and cost reduction, accelerated schedule and improved production reliability.
  • CSAcontribution: $362,724
  • COM DEV: $120,908
  • Total value: $483,632
COM DEV International Ltd.
Location: Cambridge, ON
New Iso-Divider Product The objective of this project is to develop a product that will combine and integrate space worthy Isolators and Power Dividers within the same package, saving space and mass in satellite designs. This product will be used for satellite communication purposes.
  • CSAcontribution: $200,000
  • COM DEV: $67,122
  • Total value: $267,122
Communication & Power Industries (CPI) Canada Inc.
Location: Georgetown, ON
G-Band – The Next Generation of Cloud Profiling Radars This project will develop higher frequency radar technology dedicated to cloud profiling. Currently, radars are being used to better understand clouds and cloud processes. Using a new radar band could significantly improve current profiling capabilities in boundary layer clouds, cirrus and mid-level ice clouds, and precipitating snow.
  • CSAcontribution: $416,886
  • CPI Canada: $138,963
  • Total value: $555,849
Gedex Inc.
Location: Mississauga,ON
Vector Gravimeter for Asteroids (VEGA) Prototype Instrument Development and Flight Test This project will develop and test-fly an instrument that could explore the surface of asteroids – the VEGA. Very accurate measurements of the gravity force vector on the surface of an asteroid would provide answers on asteroid and solar system formation and help locate deposits of valuable minerals such as water ice, which are of interest to commercial asteroid mining companies. This instrument is designed to be compatible with very small, low-cost exploration spacecraft.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • Gedex Inc.: $268,070
  • Total value: $868,070
Integran TechnologiesInc.
Location: Mississauga,ON
Nanometal Enabled Multifunctional Composites for Space Applications The project aims to test and optimize a novel nanomaterial that has equivalent or better performance than aluminum in mechanical strength and stiffness, electromagnetic interference shielding, thermal conduction, and surface dust erosion resistance. The proposed material is composed mainly of a carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer core coated with a nanometal developed by Integran Technologies.
  • CSAcontribution: $200,000
  • Integran: $77,993
  • Total value: $277,993
International Datacasting Corporation (IDC)
Location: Ottawa, ON
Transponder Bonding The objective of this project is to enhance the distribution of high quality video and high speed data for satellite applications. This technology will permit the transmission of higher volumes of data in a shorter period of time, allowing satellite providers to keep up with the demand for higher-speed data exchanges.
  • CSAcontribution: $196,086
  • IDC: $65,342
  • Total value: $261,428
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.(MDA)
Location: Ste-Anne-de-BellevueQC
Next Generation Reflector This project aims at designing, manufacturing and testing a prototype of a new antenna reflector that would minimize the cost and mass of the next generation of antenna products.
  • CSAcontribution: $200,000
  • MDA: $105,365
  • Total value: $305,365
Location: Ste-Anne-de-BellevueQC
End-to-End Space-Ground Communication This project will focus on the development and the study of key advancements in satellite on-board processing technology in order to improve the level of integration of an end-to-end communications network. The idea is to provide a fully integrated approach where the utilization of  ground and space segments are maximized
  • CSAcontribution: $471,769
  • MDA: $90,256
  • iDirect: $67,000
  • Total value: $629,025
Location: Ste-Anne-de-BellevueQC
High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Antenna Technology This project will focus on the development of HTS antenna technologies, encompassing multiple frequency bands. 
Thanks to these innovative technologies, end-users will have acces to exclusive solutions in C-, Ku-, Ka- and Q/V-band.
  • CSAcontribution: $364,550
  • MDA: $121,517
  • Total value: $486,067
MDA SystemsLtd.
Location: Richmond, BC
Wide-Swath, 10m Resolution Hyperspectral Sensor and Mission This project will explore the feasibility of using novel technology in a compact spaceborne sensor. The sensor would be compact enough to fly on a small satellite while delivering better sensitivity, coverage, and resolution. Such smaller, cheaper satellites can be deployed in constellations that provide continental-scale cove

rage every few days, which is critical for such applications as agriculture and defence. As well, the company will test the use of non-radiation hardened signal processing devices in the harsh space environment to enhance their performance.

  • CSAcontribution: $192,419
  • MDA: $53,116
  • ABB: $12,500
  • Total value: $258,035
Location: Richmond, BC
On-board Processing This project will seek to will test the use of non-radiation hardened signal processing devices in the harsh space environment to enhance their performance.
  • CSAcontribution: $573,618
  • MDA: $192,030
  • Total value: $765,648
MAYA Heat Transfer TechnologiesLtd. (MAYA HTT)
Location: Montreal, QC
Software for Advanced Composite Material Modeling This project will develop software to improve the realism and accuracy of structural modelling tools used to predict the progressive degradation of composites in space technologies.
  • CSAcontribution: $199,991
  • MAYA HTT: $66,983
  • Total value: $266,974
Neptec Design Group Ltd.
Location: Ottawa, ON
Next Generation TriDAR This project will focus on the creation of a next-generation TriDAR platform. TriDAR is a 3D sensor used to perform autonomous rendezvous and docking in space. This project aims to reduce the TriDAR products mass, volume and power consumption in order to broaden the range of applicable missions.  The project will also improve the system’s data acquisition and scan speed performance, add cooperative tracking capability, evaluate and test solid state beam steering detector and technologies, and demonstrate the feasibility of hybrid 3D sensing.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • Neptec Design Group: 
  • Total value: $800,000
Neptec Design Group Ltd.
Location: Ottawa, ON
Next Generation Thermal Imager This project will focus on the development of a high resolution next-generation thermal camera specifically designed for space. The increase in resolution will result in a camera that is better suited to new space applications such as spacecraft inspection and remote sensing, thus potentially opening new markets for Neptec.
  • CSAcontribution: $199,499
  • Neptec Design Group: $66,499
  • Total value: $265,998
Neptec Design Group Ltd.
Location: Ottawa, ON
High Precision Laser RangeFinder This project further improves Neptec’s high-precision laser rangefinding capabilities, essential to enabling spacecraft formation flying missions. The advancement of this technology will achieve higher levels of measurement accuracy at distances never reached before. This helps to secure a competitive advantage in the field of navigation sensor technologies and establish Canada as a recognized leader in the development of flight products for formation flying.
  • CSAcontribution: $166,073
  • Neptec Design Group: $55,358
  • Total value: $221,431
Neptec Design Group Ltd.
Location: Ottawa, ON
LiDAR-based Rover Navigation Software This project advances Neptec’s rover-based planetary exploration technologies based on Neptec’s in-house family of 3D scanning LiDAR sensors. The project will develop a LiDAR-based suite of navigation software that integrates LiDAR visual odometry, efficient mapping, path planning, and obstacle avoidance, using the unique scanning pattern provided by Neptec’s sensors.
  • CSAcontribution: $172,162
  • Neptec Design Group: 
  • Total value: $229,549
Neptec Design Group Ltd.
Location: Ottawa, ON
Self Calibrating Radiation Tolerant Time-to-Digital Converter (TDC) This project is for the design and development of a Self Calibrating Radiation Tolerant TDC prototype that will comprise the following features: maintain its own accuracy across all operating conditions; allow for custom data processing and control logic to be implemented in a single device (thus reducing complexity of on-board electronics); and be used as part of a rangefinder for topographic map

ping, satellite formation flying as well as rendezvous and docking operations.

  • CSAcontribution: $121,202
  • Neptec Design Group: 
  • Total value: $161,603
Location: Sherbrooke, QC
Geometric Error Source Identification and Quantification (GESIQ) The main objective of the GESIQ study is to develop a technology for the improvement of Earth-observation satellite parameters knowledge by identifying and quantifying the geometric errors sources in the satellite imagery data starting from known geometric errors previously determined using ground control points.
  • CSAcontribution: $160,295
  • NGCAérospatialeLtée
  • Total value: $213,727
Location: Sherbrooke, QC
Autonomous Navigation & Mapping (ANIMA) The purpose of this project is to enable the development and validation of an innovative navigation and mapping technology to be integrated onboard exploration rover systems, enabling navigation, mapping and localization of mobile vehicle systems where Global Positioning System (GPS) or other absolute navigation infrastructure are not reliable or even available.
  • CSAcontribution: $199,414
  • NGCAérospatialeLtée
  • Total value: $265,885
Nüvü CamérasInc.
Location: Montreal, QC
Electron Multiplying Charged Coupled Device (EMCCD) Camera Controller This project aims to advance the design of their electron-multiplying charge-coupled device camera controller in order to prepare it for future space missions by reducing power consumption and adapting heat dissipation of the device controller.
  • CSAcontribution: $200,000
  • Nuvu contribution: $66,959
  • Total value: $266,959
Optech Inc.
Location: Vaughan, ON
Scanning Lidar System This project will develop a prototype scanning LiDAR system that combines new LiDAR technology and a scanning mirror mechanism. This system will provide a range of information that can be used for space robotics and planetary exploration.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • Optech contribution: 219,863
  • Total value: $819,863
Qidni Labs Inc.
Location: Kitchener, ON
A novel nano-filtration technology for aerospace applications This project is to design, build and test high-performance and durable nano-filters to be used in the aerospace industry. These nano-filters would serve in the filtration of fluid system protection in engine lubrication, engine fuel, coolant, radar cooling systems and odor/bacteria/virus removal from water and air.
  • CSAcontribution: $200,000
  • Qidni LabsInc.: $69,500
  • Total value: $269,500
SED Systems (a division of Calian Ltd.)
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Multi-channel Modulator Pre-Compensation The project will design, develop and implement an innovative algorithm that will allow satellites to send more data at a reduced cost.
  • CSAcontribution: $159,131
  • SED: $53,046
  • Total value: $212,177
Square Peg CommunicationsInc. (SPCI)
Location: Ottawa, ON
Development of3G/4G Satcom Tester Technology The project will develop a network simulator for third- and fourth-generation (3G/4G) mobile satellite terminals. This will facilitate the development of new terminals and applications that extend the capabilities of 3G/4G terrestrial wireless systems to users on land, at sea or in the air.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • SPCI: $251,285
  • Total value: $851,285
UrtheCast Corp.
Location: Vancouver, BC
On-Board Autonomous Cross-Cueing of Earth Observation (EO) Sensor Systems for Maritime Domain Awareness and Tasking Optimization The objective of this project is to develop a unique space-borne on-board autonomous tasking system, allowing for improved detection and identification of targets, and cloud-free target imaging.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • UrtheCast: $271,125
  • Total value: $871,125
UrtheCast Corp.
Location: Vancouver, BC
Dual L and X Band Active Planar Array Antenna for Space-based Radar The project aims to develop the design of a new Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) antenna. This will include building and testing a technology prototype to evaluate the performance. The targeted application for this technology is for a SAR payload deployed on theISS.
  • CSAcontribution: $600,000
  • UrtheCast: $344,438
  • Total value: $944,438
Xiphos SystemsCorp.
Location: Montreal, QC
Q7 Camera Boards This project aims to leverage the company’s miniaturized data-processing technology with a versatile camera interface board for the new Q7 processor card. It will address a market niche in spacecraft image processing from a wide range of conventional and specialized imagers. Potential applications for this technology include space, security and forest fire management.
  • CSAcontribution: $147,904
  • Xiphos: $50,600
  • Total value: $198,504

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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