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RADARSAT Constellation mission going ahead

MONTREAL - Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis will be in Montreal on Wednesday to announce that the controversial RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) is going ahead.

There have been reports the projected costs of the three-satellite program have jumped to more than $1 billion from $600 million.

The program began in 2005.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), which had been contracted to develop the project, recently had to submit a revised proposal for the construction phase — the next step in the process.

In the past, Paradis has said the Harper government was committed to the satellite program but that it would be done in the most cost-effective way.

An official in his department would only say that Paradis would be making a significant announcement.

Officials from MDA and the Canadian Space Agency will join Paradis at the company's satellite systems office in suburban Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

The CSA's website says the satellites will provide complete coverage of Canada's land and oceans with launches planned for 2016 and 2017.

The satellites would be used for maritime surveillance, disaster management and monitoring of environmental change.

MDA has developed space and satellite technology for many missions, including the Canadarm on the space station.

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