Top-secret satellite project in the works
Is this the start of Canada’s involvement in NMD?
The Canadian military may spend $600 million on a satellite system that would conduct surveillance on aircraft and ships approaching North America, keep an eye on the Arctic and supply information to the United States.
This top-secret project has been dubbed “Polar Star.”
A spokesperson for the Department of National Defense refused to comment on the project because of its highly classified nature.
However, an article printed in the March 23 edition of the Ottawa Citizen reported work could begin as early as next year on ground stations to support the system.
DND documents cited in the Ottawa Citizen article state the price-tag for Polar Star would range from $596 million to $684 million, spread out from 2003 to 2014.
The system could involve the launch of a spy satellite or rely on images gathered by existing commercial satellites that can observe small objects on the ground.
The development of the Polar Star dovetails with the U.S. government’s intent to put weapons, such as lasers, in orbit. These weapons would be able to hit targets on the ground or in space.
Such weapons could be a vital component of the proposed National Missile Defence system intended to defend the U.S. from missile attacks.
In January, Lt.-Gen. George MacDonald, the vice-chief of Canada’s defence staff, said he wouldn’t rule out an NMD site on Ellesmere Island if the U.S. decides not to go ahead with its plan to use the Thule Air Base in Greenland as a NMD site.
The April 5 edition of the Danish newspaper, Jyllandsposten, cites a new poll showing increased opposition to the NMD in Greenland.
According to a recent poll conducted by Greenpeace, through telephone interviews with 735 Greenlanders, 43 per cent are very or mostly against upgrading Thule to become an NMD site, while 30 per cent supported an increased role for Thule.
In a similar poll conducted last year, 37 per cent of those contacted were against and 33 per cent were in favour of an increased role for Thule.