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2010/64 (a)

Backgrounder

Inuvik Satellite Station Facility


In all weather conditions, orbiting satellites can provide near real-time scientific information over Canada to address governmental priorities such as environment, climate change, disaster management and sustainable economic development. The near real-time attribute can only be achieved if the satellite receives data as it orbits over the Canadian North. Until now, the coverage consisted of playing back data previously recorded over a southern station and stored on board the satellite, resulting in data delivery delays.

There is strong international interest in Arctic satellite coverage, and several countries have approached Canada regarding satellite data reception in the North. With nearly 300 new Earth observation satellites expected over the next decade offering multiple sources of precise, science-based information for the Canadian Arctic, Canada is poised to become the most important player on the international remote sensing scene.

The station’s site in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, offers many clear advantages and an excellent starting point for achieving world-class status in Earth observation services. To make the most of Canada’s northern advantage, a remote sensing facility in the Arctic provides Canadian industry with opportunities to offer data reception services for commercial satellites and decision support to all levels of governments in Canada. Both objectives provide short- and long-term economic benefits to northern communities.

By linking satellite receiving stations to research facilities, the Government of Canada will ensure that our researchers and academia will have access to reliable scientific data, as well as contributing to the development of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Canadian Arctic Research Institute as a world-class provider of Earth observation data to the international community.

Inuvik

The Government of Canada, in partnership with international and private sector partners, is developing a business model for the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF) in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Natural Resources Canada has set up a public-private partnership to secure satellite data receiving services and worked with Environment Canada to secure access to an existing weather observation station. The site’s infrastructure was upgraded, including improved power sources and road access, to accommodate the ISSF.

Iinitially hosting two antennas, the ISSF can be expanded as opportunities arise. The project has been presented to, and received support from, a number of stakeholders. Government of Canada representatives met with leaders from key Aboriginal communities: Inuvialuit and Gwich’in; local and territorial governments: the Town of Inuvik, Government of the Northwest Territories; academia: Aurora College, the University of Lethbridge; and local businesses.

Objectives

The ISSF presents both near- and long-term economic benefits. In the short term, economic benefits will arise from private sector investment in the design and construction of the facility, with other benefits deriving from local economic stimulus in the areas of accommodation, travel and the crews’ residence during the start-up phase of the project.

Long-term economic benefits will be achieved by leveraging this investment to gain access to a wide variety of data sources, thus providing operational support to Government of Canada facilities and opportunities for Canadian industry to offer reception services for commercial satellites, in addition to supplying precise scientific data to northern communities.

Facility

The ISSF builds on Environment Canada’s Upper Air station in Inuvik. Established in the 1970s and operational and accessible year-round, the site currently serves as a balloon launch site and also hosts a Fisheries and Oceans Canada telecommunications antenna for relaying Coast Guard transmissions.

Inuvik Satellite Station Facility Partners

  • Natural Resources Canada (Canada Centre for Remote Sensing)
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Environment Canada
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Industry Canada
  • Justice Canada
  • Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Township of Inuvik
  • Inuvialuit and Gwich’in communities
  • PrioraNet Canada Inc.
  • University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Swedish Space Corporation

Media may contact:

Richard Walker
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.