Press Release

MDA to Study Use of Synthetic Aperture Radar for Mars Science and Space Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
June 22, 2017
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MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (“MDA” or the “Company”) (TSX:MDA), a global communications and information company, today announced that it has signed a contract with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to conduct a concept study to determine the feasibility of using a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Sub-Surface Ice Sounder and Imager as a potential payload on a future Mars orbiter mission.

Budget 2017 provided funding to the CSA for new projects that will demonstrate and utilize Canadian innovations in space, including for Mars surface observation. “The Budget commitment to participate in such a mission is a welcome signal about how the Canadian government views space exploration,” said Don Osborne, president of MDA’s Information Systems Group.

The SAR payload will use radio waves to illuminate the surface and sub-surface of Mars. The echo of each radio wave pulse that is received can be processed into valuable information about surface properties and the distribution of water and water-ice. These measurements will be also be crucial to finding potential future landing sites for humans on Mars.

MDA will team with scientists led by Western University and with five other Canadian academic institutions to contribute towards meeting the science requirements of the mission.

With almost five decades of SAR expertise, MDA is recognized for being the first to use a digital processor to reconstruct an image from Seasat, the first civilian spaceborne SAR satellite. Thanks to an early commitment by the Government of Canada to develop an Earth observation program to meet national needs, MDA is acknowledged for the design, construction and operation of the most capable space-based SAR systems in the world. From RADARSAT-1 in 1995 to RADARSAT-2 in 2007, the planned RADARSAT Constellation Mission in 2018, and advanced imaging SAR for aircraft platforms serving defence, security and surveillance applications, including Canada’s CP-140 Aurora aircraft, MDA is recognized globally for its state-of-the-art space technologies, advanced technical and engineering capabilities, and mission critical systems.

About MDA

MDA is a global communications and information company providing operational solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide.

MDA’s business is focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, primarily in the Communications sector and the Surveillance and Intelligence sector. In addition, the Company conducts a significant amount of advanced technology development.

MDA’s established global customer base is served by more than 4,800 employees operating from 15 locations in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

The Company’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “MDA.”

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