Telescope will be the largest, most complex and most powerful ever built
OTTAWA, July 25, 2012 /CNW/ - COM DEV International Ltd. (TSX: CDV), a
leading manufacturer of space hardware subsystems, today announced that
it has completed work on the instrument it designed and built for the
James Webb Space Telescope, successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
The two-in-one instrument, which is Canada's contribution to the Webb
program, will serve to point the telescope precisely, allowing it to
peer into the distant Universe, and study stars and planets in other
stellar systems. The instrument has been accepted by COM DEV's
customer, the Canadian Space Agency, and is set to be shipped to NASA
next week for integration into the telescope.
"Our work on the James Webb Space Telescope has been one of the largest
and most complex programs in our company's history," said Michael Pley,
CEO of COM DEV. "It has allowed us to develop and extend our
world-class capabilities in guidance sensors and opto-mechanical design
for a highly challenging environment. It is an example of the highest
standard of space engineering by our Canadian Division, done in close
collaboration with our customer, the Canadian Space Agency."
The delivery of this instrument represents the culmination of nearly
nine years of work for a total contract value of $136 million. Over
90% of that revenue has been generated since November, 2005 when COM
DEV paid approximately $5 million to acquire certain assets including
the space science and optical instruments operation that had contracted
to work on the Webb program.
Canada is providing Webb's Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), as well as one of
the telescope's four science instruments: the Near-Infrared Imager and
Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS).
The Fine Guidance Sensor consists of two redundant special cameras that
are critical to Webb's ability to provide sharp images. The FGS will
allow the Webb telescope to determine its position on the sky, locate
its celestial targets and remain accurately pointed so that the
telescope can collect high-quality data. It will guide the telescope
with incredible precision, with an accuracy of one millionth of a
The NIRISS will have unique capabilities for finding the earliest and
most distant objects in the Universe's history. It will also peer
through the glare of nearby young stars to unveil new Jupiter-like
"exoplanets". It will have the capability of detecting the thin
atmosphere of small, habitable, earth-like planets and determine its
chemical composition to seek water vapour, carbon dioxide and other
potential biomarkers such as methane and oxygen.
Slated for launch in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope is a joint
project between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space
Agency. The Webb telescope will examine the first stars and galaxies to
form after the Big Bang, study the formation of new stars, and seek
extra-solar planetary systems capable of supporting life on planets
like Earth. Canada's contribution, designed, built and tested by COM
DEV at its facilities in Ottawa and Cambridge, Ontario, guarantees
Canadian astronomers a share of observing time once the telescope
"Imagine the challenge at hand here: design and deliver technology
capable of unprecedented levels of precision to conduct breakthrough
science on board the largest, most complex and most powerful telescope
ever built," said Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space
Agency. "The Webb telescope will be located 1.5 million kilometres from
Earth— too far to be serviced by astronauts like Hubble was. At that
distance, the technology simply has to work. This is the outstanding
level of excellence Canadians are capable of achieving. It's something
for all of us to be proud of."
About COM DEV
COM DEV International Ltd. (www.comdevintl.com) is a leading global
provider of space hardware and services. With facilities in Canada,
the United Kingdom and the United States, COM DEV manufactures advanced
subsystems and microsatellites that are sold to major satellite prime
contractors, government agencies and satellite operators, for use in
communications, space science, remote sensing and defense applications.
COM DEV's majority-owned subsidiary, exactEarth Ltd., provides
satellite data services.
This news release may contain certain forward-looking statements that
involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially
from results indicated in any forward-looking statements. The Company
cautions that, among other things, in view of the rapid changes in
communications markets and technologies, and other risks including the
cost and market acceptance of the Company's new products, the level of
individual customer procurements and competitive product offerings and
pricing, and general economic circumstances, the Company's business
prospects may be materially different from forward-looking statements
made by the Company.
The triangular logo and the word COM DEV are each registered trademarks
and the property of COM DEV Ltd. All rights reserved.
Image with caption: "COM DEV's Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Communications Research Centre (CRC). (CNW Group/Com Dev International Ltd.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120725_C2573_PHOTO_EN_16421.jpg
Image with caption: "COM DEV's Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) undergoing cryogenic testing at the David Florida Laboratory. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Communications Research Centre (CRC). (CNW Group/Com Dev International Ltd.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120725_C2573_PHOTO_EN_16425.jpg
SOURCE: Com Dev International Ltd.
For further information:
Chief Financial Officer
Tel: (519) 622-2300 ext. 2826
The Equicom Group
Tel: (416) 815-0700 ext. 261