Oh, Canada

The XM/Sirius satellite radio merger is now a done deal. But north of the border, word is that XM Canada may choose to go it alone:

"XM Canada is in a strong strategic position to maximize any opportunities that arise for the enhanced benefit of our shareholders and
customers," said Michael Moskowitz, President and CEO of XM Canada. "We are now evaluating how best to leverage the FCC’s decision so that we optimize our critical, market-leading advantages, which include innovative partnerships, long-term automotive contracts, steadily increasing retail market share,
superior signal coverage and 130 channels of unbeatable programming. Our aggressive growth strategy is delivering improved financial performance and we are committed to providing the best service possible to our subscribers."

XM Canada has an exclusive Canadian license from U.S.-based XM Satellite Radio.

Meanwhile, the Canadian satellite operators are expanding. First, the upstart Ciel recently announced that Industry Canada has issued them "Approvals in Principle" to develop the following spectrum: Ka FSS at 91°W and 109.2°W; 17 GHz BSS at 91°W, 103°W and 107.3°W; and 12 GHz BSS at 138°W. 

Second, Telesat has issued a "call for interest" from broadcast, enterprise and government customers who might wish to jump on board Telesat’s recent acquisition of six satellite approvals-in-principle for development of BSS and FSS frequencies from Industry Canada. 

Is the rapid expansion of orbital locations to the north too much? Time will tell. DirecTV and DISH Network, for example, are in need of more bandwidth for HDTV expansion. Whoever "bags an elephant" as big as those companies will surely find their investments paying off.

Speaking of Canadian elephants, there’s a nice elephant statue in St. Thomas, Ontario:


Finally — and completing our roundup of Candadian space news — a tiny Canadian satellite will be looking for a different kind of "elephant" — giant asteroids

The last time it happened, many scientists say, it killed off 70 per cent of all life on the planet and wiped out the dinosaurs.

But the next time some city-sized chunk of rock comes shooting through space toward the Earth, a team of scientists led by a Canadian intend to find out in time to stop it.

A one-of-a-kind, $12-million satellite mission to be launched by the Canadian Space Agency in 2010 will track at least some of the tens of thousands of large asteroids within striking distance of Earth.

The satellite, called the Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat), will give researchers a whole new view of space. Instead of looking for asteroids with large telescopes in observatories, researchers will get to see the skies from the point of view of the satellite — 24-7 data from areas not normally visible from earthbound telescopes.

The satellite, designed to be more controllable than the Hubble Space Telescope, will be able to twist and move in space, giving researchers an unprecedented range of view while tracking moving bodies. 

The spacecraft that may end up saving all of life on earth is being built by Ontario-based Dynacon