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Funding for C-CORE

Accessing satellite data more efficiently and effectively


By Deirdre Greene Lono

New funding for C-CORE will advance environmental monitoring via satellite technology.

Satellites ranging from the size of a milk carton to a microwave, called smallsats, are increasingly used to address the growing global demand for remote sensing information. These smallsats are not only smaller, but more agile, more cost-effective and have shorter timelines to launch than traditional satellites.

Unprecedented quantities of data

The result is an increasing number of satellites imaging the Earth more often, capturing vastly increased levels of detail much more frequently. This yields unprecedented quantities of image data that must be downlinked in order to be useful.

This data is used to inform decision making in business intelligence, environmental stewardship and safety and security.

C-CORE is building capacity to collect, analyze and interpret the data efficiently and effectively via small-scale ground stations.

C-CORE’s Inuvik ground station, operating in winter 2018.
Photo: Submitted

The first ground station was developed as part of a strategic partnership with Boeing Phantom Works and deployed in Inuvik, N.W.T. at Natural Resources Canada’s Inuvik Satellite Station Facility.

Inuvik is an ideal location to access the maximum number of satellite orbits, supporting the satellite company’s needs and getting data into the hands of decision-makers as quickly as possible.  The ground station features an innovative self-levelling platform to compensate for the seasonal frost and thaw cycles, which avoids more capital intensive solutions.

This Arctic ground station has been downlinking data from GHGSat’s Claire satellite since late 2017, providing GHGSat’s clients with greenhouse gas emission measurements for a wide variety of uses.

Expanding network

C-CORE will expand its network with a second station in Happy Valley – Goose Bay, N.L., at the College of the North Atlantic site later this year.

The provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is contributing $500,000 in funding towards this project, and the Government of Canada is providing a non-repayable contribution of nearly $2.7 million through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Pictured: Paul Griffin, David Oake, Sarah Stoodley, Christopher Mitchelmore,Nick Whalen
At the announcement event: L-R: C-CORE CEO Paul Griffin; C-CORE Board Chair David Oake; MHA Sarah Stoodley; MHA Christopher Mitchelmore; MP Nick Whalen.
Photo: Submitted

“For over 40 years, C-CORE has been a world leader in ice-sensing, geotechnical engineering and remote sensing, employing scientists and engineers who study harsh environments right here at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus,” said Nick Whalen, member of Parliament for St. John’s East. “This investment by the Government of Canada in C-CORE’s latest work in satellite technology will harness their niche expertise to create leading-edge employment opportunities for the people of our province.”

The coverage provided by both ground stations spans Canada’s Arctic and addresses existing Eastern Arctic gaps.

“As demand grows for information to support priorities such as business intelligence and environmental stewardship, a new generation of small satellites is meeting this need. C-CORE’s new ground stations provide a matching solution – smaller, cheaper and more easily deployable,” explained Paul Griffin, president and chief operating officer of C-CORE.

“With help from ACOA and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, we’re innovating to keep our province and country at the leading edge of space technology that has the ability to turn information into insights.”

About C-CORE

C-CORE was established by Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in 1975 and is now a Separately Incorporated Entity of the University. C-CORE maintains a collaborative relationship with the university, working on joint projects, providing graduate thesis supervision and employment for students.

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