Sapphire is a key element of the Canadian Space Surveillance System, and when launched
in 2012 will be a contributing sensor to the US Space Surveillance Network. It 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). That data will update the US Satellite
Catalogue that is used by NORAD and DND for space situational awareness.
MDA is the Prime Contractor and is building the spacecraft and associated ground
infrastructure, and is responsible for satellite launch services and the first three
years of mission operations.
The Sapphire system will annually monitor thousands of space objects 24/7, and provide
data on several hundred objects of interest every day, with a lag of at most a few
hours between observation and data delivery.
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