The Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced on 18 October at the David Florida Laboratory of the Canadian Space Agency, the first Canadian military satellite was launched in December Sapphire from India.
"Because space is an important element in terms of global security, observational data from satellite Sapphire will be essential to increase our ability to protect our property and our interests in space, said Minister MacKay. The Canadian Forces activities related to the field of space is an essential component of a strong defense for Canada and North America. '
With nearly four years behind the original schedule, the launcher Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and must make his flight C20 December 12, 2012.
On board PSLV-C20 will carry no fewer than four Canadian satellites: CanX-3A and-3B CanX, NEOSSat and Sapphire.
CanX-3A and 3B are two CanX-satellites built at the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies / Space Flight Laboratories. Their mission will be to observe the stars the biggest and brightest in the sky.
Built by Microsat Systems Canada Inc., NEOSSat will be the first space telescope in the world to detect and track asteroids and satellites.
Finally, Sapphire is the first Canadian military satellite. Part of the Space Surveillance Network of the United States, Sapphire enable the Canadian Forces to ensure the security and sovereignty in space.
Once in orbit, the satellite will first undergo a battery of tests for a period of three months. After three months, Sapphire should be declared fully operational and act as a radar.
Sapphire will have all its functions to monitor objects in deep space (ie at a distance of 6000 to 40 000 km) and provide on-demand monitoring data. It will then provide tracking data relevant and accurate information on objects in orbit around the Earth.
An agreement signed in Ottawa May 4, 2012 provides that the data collected by the satellite Sapphire will be relayed on the space surveillance network in the United States, which will help both countries to better detect orbital debris to prevent them collide with the International Space Station or satellites.