Press Release

Government Partnership Driving Design of Leading-Edge Technologies

By SpaceRef Editor
August 8, 2001
Filed under ,

Neptec’s Laser Vision System Supporting Shuttle Missions


OTTAWA, August 8, 2001 – A new Canadian-made Space Vision Laser Camera
System will be onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (Mission STS-105) when it
launches on August 9, 2001, thanks in large part to the strategic
partnership of the Industry Portfolio through Technology Partnerships Canada
(TPC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).


“The development of the Laser Camera and the Space Vision System is an
outstanding example of cooperation between the Government of Canada and the
private sector to support the design of world-class innovative
technologies,” said the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry, and
Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency. “Canadian expertise and
leading-edge technology are, once again, being sought to help build the
largest international engineering project ever undertaken, the International
Space Station.”


Neptec Design Group developed this eye-safe laser technology that will allow
astronauts to work more effectively with the Canadarm and Canadarm2. Among
its other features, the system is able to analyze images to precisely
determine the position of objects in space. It is also capable of collecting
precise three-dimensional images of those objects, even in the harsh
lighting conditions of space.


“The New Space Vision System is enhanced with a laser camera system that
will improve the user friendliness of the Shuttle and Station Canadarms and
markedly contribute to the safe and accurate movement of materials required
to construct the international space station,” said Paul Nephin, President
of Neptec. “We are proud that our Canadian company and Canadian scientific
talent and technology are contributing to this international engineering
project.”


This highly innovative laser vision system was developed by Neptec in
collaboration with the National Research Council and the CSA. The project
received a TPC repayable investment of $6.15 million coupled with $2.9
million awarded by the CSA. PRECARN, a member-driven consortium of Canadian
companies, research organizations and government agencies, has also
partnered in this technology initiative, contributing expertise and $430,000
to the development of this specialized space laser-measurement device.


The TPC and CSA investments in the Neptec initiative are also leading to
breakthroughs in future, previously unthinkable projects. These investments
will see the development of a light detection and ranging (lidar)
navigational system that will replace the Shuttles’ rendezvous radar and
will eventually provide a landing aid for Mars and comet-bound space craft.


TPC is a technology investment fund established in 1996 to contribute to the
achievement of Canada’s objectives of increasing economic growth, creating
jobs and wealth, and supporting sustainable development. TPC supports and
advances Government of Canada initiatives by investing strategically in
research, development and innovation in order to encourage private sector
investment and so maintain and grow the technology base and technological
capabilities of Canadian industry. TPC also encourages the development of
small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in all regions of Canada.


The Canadian Space Agency was established in 1989 with headquarters in
Saint-Hubert, Quebec. It coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space
Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development
business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the
Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite
Communications; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services and
Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development
and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and
humanity.


Funding for this project was provided for in the February 2000 budget and is
therefore built into the existing financial framework.


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For more information, please contact:


Heidi Bonnell
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Industry
(613) 995-9001


Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
(450) 926-4370
http://www.space.gc.ca


Paul Johnston
VP Operations
PRECARN
(613) 727-9507, Ext. 226
http://www.precarn.ca


John Brunet
Deputy Executive Director and Director Aerospace and Defence
Technology Partnerships Canada
(613) 941-6738
http://tpc.ic.gc.ca


Paul Nephin
President
Neptec Design Group Inc.
(613) 599-7603
http://www.neptec.com

SpaceRef staff editor.