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UrtheCast Raises CA$17.6 Million to Support OptiSAR Constellation

By Kendall Russell | March 15, 2017
      Overtop Mount Fuji. Photo: UrtheCast.

      Overtop Mount Fuji. Photo: UrtheCast.

      UrtheCast announced that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Industrial Technologies Office will grant the company approximately CA$17.6 million ($13.08 million) in funding as part of its Strategic Aerospace & Defense Initiative (SADI) program. This funding will provide financial support for the ongoing development of UrtheCast’s planned constellation of Earth Observation (EO) satellites, known as the OptiSAR constellation.

      The planned 16-satellite OptiSAR constellation consists of eight X- and L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites and eight high-resolution optical satellites. The SADI funding will support the OptiSAR program during critical pre-commercial design and development work over the next four years.

      The SADI funding is structured as a repayable contribution that will be disbursed in quarterly installments through March 31, 2021 or when the funding limit is reached, whenever is sooner, on a cost-reimbursement basis, and must be repaid by UrtheCast in annual installments over 15 years, beginning in 2023. UrtheCast expects to claim a reimbursement of approximately CA$3.2 million ($2.3 million) for costs incurred between April 2016 and February 2017, as permitted by the funding agreement. Disbursement of funds is subject to customary conditions in agreements of this nature, including covenants to perform certain work and maintain ownership of intellectual property in Canada during the term of the agreement, which expires in 2037. The total amount to be repaid, including interest, is approximately CA$29 million ($21.5 million).

      UrtheCast will be working with several academic institutions, such as the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, as well as several private sector partners, in the OptiSAR development program.