UrtheCast receives $2 million grant from Canadian Space Agency


Vancouver-based UrtheCast, which captures and displays highly-detailed images of Earth, has been selected to receive $2 million CAD from the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) Space Technology Development Program (STDP) to develop new satellite technologies.

“We are extremely proud that the CSA has selected our innovative technology proposals through the highly competitive STDP program.”

The funding will be doled out in two separate agreements of $1 million each, and the project will be carried out over the next three years. The first CSA STDP contribution will support the development of the UrtheCast’s technologies for its planned UrtheDaily Constellation, currently slated for deployment in 2021. The second contribution agreement will support the continued development of the UrtheCast SAR-XL Synthetic Aperture Radar.

“We are extremely proud that the CSA has selected our innovative technology proposals through the highly competitive STDP program,” said UrtheCast CEO Don Osborne. “This validation of our technology speaks to the Government of Canada’s continued, active interest in our technologies and programs.”

Founded in 2004 by Scott Larson, UrtheCast collects Earth video data, and displays it in near-real time on the UrtheCast web platform. The platform makes the videos available for internet users, developers, educators, media, governments, humanitarian organizations, and environmental monitoring bodies.

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UrtheCast first streamed Ultra HD video from the International Space Station in January 2014. At the time of initial launch, the cameras had a resolution of 1.1 meters. The company then achieved initial operating capability in June 2015, and announced the $100 million acquisition of Elecnor Deimos Earth Observation the month after. UrtheCast’s two cameras aboard the International Space Station were incorporated into a short film for the 2015 Pepsi Challenge global campaign.

In March 2017, the company raised $19.6 million through a bought deal public offering and received $17.6 million from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development a week prior. In January, UrtheCast closed a $27 million deal to acquire digital agriculture firm Geosys Technology.

The Canadian Space Agency’s STDP aims to support innovation for the growth of Canada’s space industry. The program issues contracts to Canadian organizations developing technology that can support the future needs of the Canadian Space Program. Non-repayable contributions are awarded to Canadian organizations to support the development of technologies with strong commercial potential.

Image courtesy UrtheCast

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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