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Canada buying into U.S. satellite program

Dec. 23, 2011 at 2:34 PM

OTTAWA, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay has received authorization to spend up to $477 million to participate in a new, U.S.-led military satellite program.

Developed by Boeing, the Global Wideband Satellite program, or Mercury Global, is envisaged to place satellites in geo-synchronous orbits to provide U.S. and allied soldiers operating overseas access to top-quality, secure wide-band communications, The Vancouver Sun reported Thursday.

The Boeing Global Wideband Satellite program is experiencing problems, however.

While the first three Mercury Global telecommunications satellites have been launched and are in orbit, their deployment followed delays and similar problems are slowing deployment of the six additional satellites needed to complete the network.

Cost overruns have also emerged. While the initial estimate for the Boeing Global Wideband Satellite program was $1.3 billion for six satellites Washington has invested $4.9 billion on the three satellites currently operational, with the nine-satellite network projected eventually to cost $10 billion.

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