MDA's CASSIOPE (Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer) program encompasses three major objectives: a science mission to monitor space weather and its impact on the Earth’s atmosphere; a technology demonstrator for a potential future space-based digital courier system Cascade; and a new small satellite bus to support future Canadian Space Agency (CSA) missions. The program has been enabled by contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC).

To fulfill the science mission, CASSIOPE carries a dedicated science payload consisting of eight science instruments collectively referred to as e-Pop, the Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe, Canada's first space environment sensor suite.

A second payload is an experiment to demonstrate key technologies to enable the delivery of extremely large digital data files ranging in size from 50 to 1,000 GB or more, to and from anywhere on Earth.

Fulfilling the third objective, the CASSIOPE spacecraft incorporates a new Smallsat Bus (designed by Magellan) that will be adaptable to support future Canadian small satellite space missions.

MDA has been the prime contractor for the CASSIOPE space and ground infrastructure, responsible for system engineering design, assembly, integration, testing, launch, and commissioning. MDA, in conjunction with the University of Calgary, is currently leading the mission operations phase.

The spacecraft flies in an elliptical low-Earth orbit with a 325 km perigee and 1500 km apogee, and an inclination of 83 degrees. Cassiope was launched by a Falcon-9 rocket from the Vanderberg Air Force Base in California on September 29, 2013.

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