MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates of Richmond, B.C., has signed a $706 million contract with the Canadian Space Agency to build, launch and provide initial operations for the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). The project is expected to require seven years.

“RCM builds on the world-leading geospatial and radar surveillance capabilities that MDA has developed through the RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 missions,” said Daniel Friedmann, MDA president and CEO. “We are now greatly expanding these capabilities with benefits for Canada and for MDA.”

RCM will be a constellation of three satellites providing around-the-clock coverage, notably repeat imaging of the same area at different times of day, which will improve the government’s ability to monitor coastal zones, northern territories, Arctic waterways and other areas of strategic and defence interest. RCM will also incorporate automated identification system technology, which when combined with the powerful radar images, supports the immediate detection and identification of ships worldwide.

MDA expects its service offering to expand as it leverages RCM’s repeat imaging capabilities. The information provided by the RCM satellites will enable MDA to meet a larger range of recurring monitoring needs in growing market segments such as oil and gas, mining, defence and security, well into the next decade. “Demands in these operational segments are driven by the ability to provide frequent, reliable information. RCM’s all-weather, day-and-night satellites will help us meet this demand,” said Friedmann.