Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Satellite project deal finally inked

MONTREAL—Even though the final costs for the RADARSAT Constellation mission went from $600 million to more than $1 billion, the multi-satellite project is being described as a “win-win-win” situation.
Those comments were made at a news conference yesterday as MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. announced a $706-million deal with the Canadian Space Agency for the construction of three satellites.

The contract will lead to the completion of construction, the launch of the satellites planned for 2018, and the first year of operation of the satellite system.
The project will build on technology MDA has developed through the RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 missions.
Federal Industry minister Christian Paradis joined CSA president Steve MacLean and MDA’s Mag Iskander to launch the final stage of RCM at the company’s satellite systems plant in the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
Paradis admitted he ordered an audit as the costs were rising. He appeared satisfied with the end result.
“We have a fixed-price contract, with a technology which will be the best according to our needs, and now we can go [ahead] with a good outcome in the most cost-effective way for taxpayers,” he noted.
The project was delayed as negotiations on the final construction stage continued to the last minute.
Iskander, president of MDA Information Systems, said RCM gives the company “a strong new foundation for the future.”
“This means jobs for approximately 200 highly-skilled employees for the next six to seven years.”
Iskander also told reporters that laid-off workers now would be recalled—though he admitted some had left the company.
“We are reversing the notices immediately and we feel confident enough that we will build this on time, on schedule,” he remarked.
MDA laid off workers after last year’s federal budget created uncertainty about future funding for the final phase of the project.
NDP industry critic Helene LeBlanc remains concerned about the cost overrun of the project.
“In 2010, the project was estimated to cost $495 million [and] this new figure is 30 percent more,” she wrote in an e-mail.
But LeBlanc added she’s happy the project finally is moving forward.

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