DEFENCE, SECURITY AND AEROSPACE
The defence and aerospace sector in Kanata employs more than 1,400 people and generates in excess of half a billion dollars in annual revenues.
One of its leaders is Neptec Design Group. Though the previous Conservative government cut funding to Canada’s space program, that hasn’t slowed Neptec’s growth. The producer of elaborate sensors and robotics technologies for the space market has been extremely successful in securing contracts with international space agencies.
Neptec founder and chairman Paul Nephin says Neptec has developed numerous sensors for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, supporting roughly 40 of NASA’s space missions. In addition, Neptec staff have racked up 30,000 hours or more in Mission Control at NASA.
Nephin says the company, which employs about 100 people in Kanata and another 10 in the United States and England, will likely see at least a 30 per cent increase in revenues in 2016, thanks mainly to a rise in exports.
Most recently, Neptec collaborated with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
“We developed a sophisticated metrology system to align X-ray telescopes on orbit,” says Nephin. The technology will allow scientists to better distinguish black holes and other objects that normally appear blurry.
Neptec’s long history has allowed it to refine its proprietary and in-demand technology, which has also been spun off for use in terrestrial applications. Its sister company, Neptec Technologies, builds sensors for the mining and construction industries.
“We’ve been developing the expertise and intellectual property for 25 years,” says Nephin.
That track record keeps Neptec busy. The company is planning to develop a lunar lander sensor for the European Space Agency and to collaborate with
the International Space Station on a multi-purpose sensor.
While Nephin is keen to keep expanding the company’s international reach, he looks forward to seeing what plans the federal Liberals have in store to boost support for the aerospace industry.
“We’re hopeful with the new government that they’ll have better insights by making investments in space and be a little bit more progressive in funding the space agency,” he said.