Sapphire is a key element of Canada’s Space Surveillance System. The spacecraft was
successfully launched in 2013 and also serves as a contributing sensor to the US
Space Surveillance Network.
The Sapphire spacecraft is a space-based electro-optical sensor designed to track
space objects at orbital altitudes between 6,000 km and 40,000 km, and provide
accurate, timely data to the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). This
data is then used to update the US Satellite Catalogue which is used by both NORAD
and DND for space situational awareness.
MDA was the Prime Contractor for the space mission program, building the spacecraft
and associated ground infrastructure, and is now responsible for mission operations.
The Sapphire system monitors thousands of space objects 24/7, and provides data on
several hundred objects of interest every day.
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