Canada gov’t rejects sale of space technology to U.S.

By Xinhua

Ottawa : The Canadian government said Thursday it had rejected the sale of satellite and robotics technology to a U.S. firm, noting it would be against national interest.

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Industry Minister Jim Prentice said in a statement that Ottawa cannot agree with selling the space technology division of Vancouver-based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) to U.S. rocket-maker Alliant Techsystems Inc. The proposed deal involves 1.325 billion U.S. dollars.

Alliant has been given 30 days to contest the decision.

The deal would include transferring Canadarm, Dextre and the Radarsat-2 satellite, and other sensitive technologies that took Canada decades to develop.

Critics of the sale, including former Canadian Space Agency head Marc Garneau, had called on Prentice to block the deal, saying it handed over taxpayer-funded technology and, in the case of Radarsat-2, gave away technology designed to protect Canada’s sovereignty.

But MDA Chief Executive Daniel Friedman said last week that Ottawa had “all the necessary powers and authority to ensure that in future it will continue to exercise full control over Radarsat 2.”

Alliant also said that if the deal went through, it would honor all of MDA’s existing contracts with the Canadian government, including “access protocols” to Radarsat-2 in the event of a national emergency.