About MSCI
NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite)

Weighing in at a mere 65-kilograms, this dual-use $12-million mission builds upon Canada’s expertise in compact “microsatellite” design. NEOSSat will be the size of a large suitcase, and is cost-effective because of its small size and ability to “piggyback” on the launch of other spacecraft.

“NEOSSat requires remarkable agility and pointing stability that has never before been achieved by a microsatellite,”

— David Cooper, President and CEO, MSCI.


Known as an asteroid hunter, MSCI’s innovative NEOSSat microsatellite will enable Canada to launch a telescope with unprecedented abilities to track asteroids in Earth’s orbit, as well as satellites in high orbit.

The NEOSSat program has successfully moved through Phases 1 and 2 of MSCI’s design activities, passing system requirement specs and preliminary design, effectively demonstrating feasibility and risk retirement.

The NEOSSat missions are funded by Defence Research Development Canada (DRDC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Together CSA and DRDC form a Joint Project Office to manage the NEOSSat design, construction and launch phases.


“We have already done satellite tracking tests using MOST, so we know that a microsatellite can track satellites,” explains Dr. Brad Wallace, who leads the science team at DRDC for HEOSS. “The challenge now is to demonstrate that it can be done efficiently, reliably, and to the standards required to maximize the safety of the spacecraft that everyone uses daily, like weather and communication satellites.”

  • MSCI’s use of commercial-grade components in our standard Multi Mission Microsatellite Bus architecture capitalizes on the technology developed for the MOST microsatellite, enabling MSCI to build affordable and flexible microsatellites for civil and military applications.

  • Leveraging our flight heritage in the civil and military sectors, MSCI can now also design and build cost-effective microsatellites for commercial applications, providing a new market with access to traditionally cost-prohibitive services, thus enabling new customers to pass on value-adds and savings to their customers.

  • MSCI’s solid track record for microsatellite operations and attitude control makes us the premier choice for customers who wish to purchase their own microsatellites, but who prefer to put operations into the hands of experts.


  • Solar powered
  • Space-based tracking – NEOSSat’s 15-centimetre telescope will be located approximately 700 kilometres above Earth
  • Sun-synchronous orbit from pole to pole every 50 minutes, providing continuous satellite tracking along its orbit in a wide variety of orbit locations
  • Ability to spin and point the NEOSSat telescope at new locations hundreds of times per day
  • Able to detect asteroids delivering as few as 50 photons of light in a 100-second exposure
  • Ability to send dozens of images to the ground each time NEOSSat passes over Canada


By using a small, focused, yet technologically advanced spacecraft to perform a mission that is typically done by a much larger, more expensive spacecraft, NEOSSat will demonstrate a typically Canadian solution to a problem – effective, dependable, advanced, yet only a modest draw on resources.

Expected to launch in 2010, and built upon the success of the MOST microsatellite, which demonstrated that an inexpensive spacecraft can carry a telescope designed to keep track of space objects, NEOSSat will be used for the HEOSS and NESS projects.

High Earth Orbit Space Surveillance (HEOSS) will track and catalogue objects in mid-to-deep-space orbits, such as GPS satellites, communication satellites and weather satellites.

Near Earth Space Surveillance (NESS) will search for asteroids near the Sun. This near-Sun region is relatively rich in some orbital classes of near-Earth asteroids and is difficult to search using ground-based telescopes.


MSCI’s exacting, menu-based Product Assurance plan ensures every aspect of a project meets with the highest quality controls, and provides options for tailoring solutions to meet each client’s specific needs.

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The MOST microsatellite's outstanding flight heritage — remaining in orbit four years longer than expected and still going strong — has surpassed all expectations without indication of deterioration. MOST’s longevity has resulted in a prodigious amount of research
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We are proud of our outstanding flight heritage that continues to exceed all expectations. It is a testament to the quality of the minds at MSCI and to the excellence of their creations.
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