April 22, 2014 – Longueuil, Quebec      

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded a contract worth $1.35 million to Neptec Design Group to continue work on Canada’s contribution to ASTRO‑H, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) next­generation space observatory, scheduled to be launched in late 2015.

Neptec is building the Canadian ASTRO-H Metrology System (CAMS), which is an innovative measuring system that will help better calibrate the observatory’s main telescope and significantly enhance the images it captures.

In return for this critical piece of hardware, Canada has secured three positions on the mission’s Science Working Group to gain privileged access to the data and allow Canadian astronomers the opportunity to propose science investigations for the observatory to carry out.

Canada’s contribution to the ASTRO-H observatory is aligned with several of the principles of Canada’s Space Policy Framework, announced in February: it promotes Canadian innovation by positioning our domestic space industry at the forefront of cutting-edge space activities in optics, and it strengthens a strategic relationship with an international partner in the interest of science and technology.

Quick facts

  • ASTRO-H marks the first time Canada is part of an X-ray astronomy mission. The telescope is designed to explore mysterious phenomena in the universe in unprecedented detail.
  • ASTRO-H will advance scientists’ knowledge of black holes, neutron stars, and how galaxies like our own Milky Way were formed.
  • Neptec began work on CAMS in 2010. The company is designing, manufacturing, assembling and testing the system for delivery to Japan by late 2014, and will also provide support to the spacecraft integration activities in Tsukuba, Japan.
  • Dr. Luigi Gallo of St. Mary’s University will lead Canada’s science team. Joining him on the science team are astronomers Dr. Brian McNamara of the University of Waterloo and Dr. Samar Safi-Harb of the University of Manitoba.
  • The total value of the contract is estimated at $8 million (including taxes) over 7 years.


“Canada is a world leader in optics and space vision systems. Our contribution to this next-generation observatory will further show that our expertise is second to none, and the access it gives us presents new scientific opportunities. In developing Canada’s contribution to ASTRO-H, Neptec Design Group will draw on its extensive experience in space vision technology, including systems that were used on over 40 space shuttle missions and over a dozen International Space Station missions.”
General (Retired) Walter Natynczyk, Canadian Space Agency President

“Neptec is very pleased to be part of the Canadian team involved in this exciting JAXA mission. We anticipate that the technology we developed for this mission will be the core of future Neptec products, which will be exported to international space agencies.”
Mike Kearns, President, Space Systems, Neptec Design Group

 Associated Links


Contact information:
Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
Telephone: 450-926-4370
Email: media@asc-csa.gc.ca
Website: www.asc-csa.gc.ca

Link to original article – Accessed 24 April 2014