MDA expands into orbiting space market with acquisition of Kanata-based Neptec

MDA is looking to utilize Neptec’s LiDAR technology in connection to the Canadarm2 and the combination of vision and robotics has already bared fruit overseas.

0 August 1, 2018
Devin Jones

Neptec

MDA, the B.C based aerospace engineering company responsible for helping build the Canadarm2, recently acquired Neptec Design group for $42 million, merging eight decades of space design experience under one roof.

Neptec is best known for their LiDAR technology aboard the international space station. Used as an observation method, LiDAR measures distance to a target using multiple lasers and sensors than can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the object.

The sale is a clear indication of Neptec’s desire to scale up, believing a new owner was the best way to increase their exposure, and the company had been actively shopping around since the start of the year.

MDA is looking to utilize Neptec’s LiDAR technology in connection to the Canadarm2 and the combination of vision and robotics has already bared fruit overseas. Days after announcing the acquisition of Neptec, MDA also announced that it landed a $1.7 million contract with the U.K. Space Agency to develop robotics and vision systems necessary to service, repair and refuel satellites in-orbit.

“The Neptec team is well-established in the industry, and this investment represents an important strategic opportunity to offer broader solutions for the growing space exploration market,” said Mike Greenley, group president of MDA.

According to a MDA press release the duo will provide “three-dimensional space systems that augment the functionality of robotic systems, including such tasks as capturing space vehicles and berthing them to structures.”

Additionally, the next-generation of Canadarm will provide critical Gateway operations, including assembly of the Gateway itself and its ongoing maintenance. The gateway itself is a lunar orbital platform-gateway, a space station planned for the 2020s.

Neptec has been working on a project that will theoretically help future satellite payloads to solve the long-standing issue of securely transporting information between distant locations.


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