Radarsat-2 was developed through a partnership between MDA and the Canadian Space Agency, with Canadian taxpayers paying $445 million or about 85 per cent of the total cost. In return for its investment, the Canadian government was promised large amounts of imagery as well as “priority access” to Radarsat-2 in emergencies. These might include floods, forest fires, oil spills — or a suspect vessel entering Canada’s North.
Once Radarsat-2 is sold to Alliant Techsystems, the United States will likely replace Canada as the country with licensing authority over it. I have sought to confirm this with several officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, including in the minister’s office. All of them claim not to know what will happen to the license.
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