DE­FENCE, SE­CU­RITY AND AERO­SPACE

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - System Update -

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.

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