Government of Canada invests $17.6 million in new satellite technologies

News Release

Vancouver-based UrtheCast offers clients high-resolution pictures of Earth 

March 14, 2017 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 

A Vancouver-based company will develop new technologies that will provide its clients with highly detailed images of the planet as a result of a $17.6-million investment by the Government of Canada. 

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced this investment in UrtheCast Corp., a leading developer of space and ground-based satellite technology. 

UrtheCast will use the funding to develop technology that equips a group of satellites, known as OptiSAR, for Earth observation. The company will also develop new technologies that make the data and high-resolution images of millions of square kilometres of the planet easier to use for its customers. 

This investment, made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI), will help equip Canadians working in the space sector with the skills to develop next-generation technology for Earth observation satellites. 

This investment will also expand Canada’s leadership in radar and optical satellite technologies. And it will enable UrtheCast to attract additional investment, which will allow the company to scale up in the rapidly growing sector of Earth observation. 

The Government’s Innovation Agenda aims to make Canada a global centre for innovation—one that drives economic growth and leads to better skills, jobs and opportunities for all Canadians. This investment is an example of that vision in action.


“Where innovation happens matters because that’s where the best jobs are located. When companies such as UrtheCast innovate, they create well-paying, middle-class jobs. And those jobs spin off into even more good jobs in every community where innovation happens. Innovations can create entirely new markets and industries that never existed before. They can also give existing industries a new lease on life by making them more productive and efficient. That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“We are deeply honoured that the Government of Canada selected us as a SADI funding recipient and recognized the potential of the OptiSAR constellation. This is a clear vote of confidence in UrtheCast, and we believe it further validates the strategic and commercial opportunities of our synthetic aperture radar and optical satellite technologies. Today marks an important step forward for the OptiSAR constellation, and we believe the technologies we are developing through this program will be beneficial, not only for UrtheCast but also for the rest of the aerospace and defence sector and for the high-tech ecosystem in Canada in general.”

– Wade Larson, President and CEO, UrtheCast Corp.

Quick Facts

  • The OptiSAR constellation, which refers to a network of orbiting satellites with coordinated ground control, will consist of eight synthetic aperture radar satellites and eight high-resolution optical satellites—one of the most advanced Earth observation satellite constellations in the world.

  • UrtheCast works with more than 170 Canadian-based suppliers. This funding is expected to directly benefit a number of UrtheCast’s contractors and to foster collaboration between Canada’s space sector and various post-secondary institutions with strong space technology programs.

  • In 2014, Canada’s space sector employed 10,000 people and generated $5.4 billion in revenue.

Associated Links


Follow Minister Bains on Twitter: @MinisterISED 

Nilani Logeswaran
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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