The Manitoba aerospace cluster is going to be able to go deeper into space with the creation of a new satellite research facility.
With $2.4 million in funding from Western Economic Diversification, the Advanced Satellite Integration Facility (ASIF) will be a partnership between the federal government, Magellan Aerospace and the University of Manitoba, with likely participation from Red River College and Manitoba high schools.
In addition to the federal funding, Magellan will invest more than $2 million and provide 6,000 square feet of space in its St. James facilities.
The development will also lead to the creation of a research chair at the U of M in satellite development that is expected to be in place by spring 2015.
Michelle Rempel, the minister of state for Western Economic Diversification and a graduate of the U of M, said the development of the ASIF is a great example of a government/industry/academia partnership that responds to industry needs and existing strengths.
Jonathan Beddoes, the dean of the faculty of engineering at the U of M, said there are a number of ways U of M engineering students and faculty will be able to interact with the ASIF.
"There is already a number of collaborations between the university and Magellan both in the space and satellite side as well as aviation-related," Beddoes said.
"The facility and the creation of a research chair will drastically expand that scope of co-operation."
The facility is expected to be completed early this summer and equipment will be commissioned by next spring.
Magellan has been in the space and satellite business for 50 years. It has built rockets, payloads and satellite components for the Canadian Space Agency and has done work with NASA in the U.S.
Don Boitson, the vice-president and general manager of Magellan's Winnipeg operation, said this new development positions the company to continue to increase its own capacity.
"Associated with this kind of work there is always research into new technology and new developments, especially in the space frontier," he said.
"We can't do that alone in isolation. This will bring a whole other level (or research support) with the U of M research chair. They will bring in other funding partners and sources looking for new developments in space technology and applications."