Observing Earth from space: Canada defines the future of satellite data
October 18, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
Satellites provide a unique perspective of our planet, support cutting-edge science, and enable applications and services in many areas critical to the health and well-being of Canadians. For more than 60 years, Canadian experts have been using satellites to monitor our environment from space, as we have seen especially over the past few months during the environmental crises in Canada.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, announced an investment of $1.012 billion over the next 15 years for RADARSAT+, an initiative aimed at ensuring continuous, efficient, and sustainable access to critical and high-quality Earth observation (EO) data for Canada.
RADARSAT+ will continue Canada's legacy as a globally recognized leader in this area, a reputation established with the launch of the first RADARSAT satellite in 1995. The RADARSAT+ portfolio includes a project to design, build and launch a replacement satellite for the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), and a project to initiate the definition of a fourth-generation national sovereign satellite system that will succeed the RCM, among others.
Canadian satellite EO data supports over 40 services from several federal departments and private enterprises, and provides tangible benefits to Canadians in their daily lives. Satellite data is key to making science-based decisions on numerous fronts, from climate change adaptation to building resilience in vulnerable areas such as Canada's North.
Building on Canada's past expertise and leadership in radar satellite technology and applications, the Government of Canada is committed to leveraging space-based technologies to tackle pressing challenges and spur innovation.
"Increasing our capability for satellite Earth observation means fostering a safer, more predictable environment in Canada, and at the same time supporting a key industry in the Canadian economy, while maintaining well-paying jobs. RADARSAT+ forms part of Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation and aims to help us unlock the full potential of satellite Earth observation. Now more than ever, we're taking visionary steps to leverage space and maximize benefits for Canadians."
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
"High-quality satellite data is crucial to Canada meeting its environmental goals. This Earth observation technology provides invaluable information about Canada's climate, helping to direct our climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. RADARSAT+ will help Environment and Climate Change Canada continue our tracking of sea ice patterns and monitoring of critical ecosystem health across our vast country."
- The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Three satellite missions have been launched as part of the RADARSAT program: RADARSAT-1, RADARSAT-2 and the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). These missions have established Canada as a world leader in space-based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology.
Earth observation data is crucial to the delivery of a wide range of services to Canadians. They enable us to make informed decisions, thereby protecting the environment and better managing Canada's natural resources.
Canada's vast and changing landscape, including its cities, forests, coasts, and climate, require systematic monitoring and analysis, and needs for quality satellite data are constantly increasing. Weather forecasting, transportation planning, emissions reduction, climate change adaptation, emergency management response and recovery, public health monitoring, freshwater management, ocean protection, and food production are all examples of applications that are obtained more effectively from satellite data.
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