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204 words - February 27, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The primary contractor, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), built and developed with an average of 45 Canadians the Sapphire system at a cost under CAD 66 million, reaching a total CAD 100 million when including the costs for ground infrastructure, the operations center, and personnel costs.
For greater operational effectiveness, Canada chose to partner with the US Space Surveillance Network (SSN) in accordance with a Canadian Forces' Memorandum of Understanding with the US Air Force (USAF) signed on May 14, 2012. "As space continues to be an important part of the global security environment, the observational data from the Sapphire satellite will be integral to increasing our ability to protect Canadian and allies' assets and interests in space," said Defense Minister Peter MacKay in October 2012.
This space-based electro-optical sensor will track man-made space objects in high Earth orbit as part of Canada's continued support of Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Canadian sources added. On February 25, the Sapphire satellite was successfully launched from Sriharikota, India, by the Indian Space Research Organization. This was "a milestone step in reducing the threat to our critical space capabilities," declared Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, Vice-Chief of the Defense Staff.
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