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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