The roots of SED came in 1965 when the University of Saskatchewan’s Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies announced the formation of a new group within its organization. It was called the Space Engineering Division – its mandate was to design and build rocket instrumentation for upper atmospheric studies. With Dr. Alex Kavadas as director, one engineer, and three technicians, the company began its journey to the global solution provider that it is today.
In 1965, the first rocket payload designed by SED is launched from the rocket range in Churchill, MB. Between 1965 and 1989, SED builds and launches over 65 rocket payloads.
SED becomes a private company and changes its name to SED Systems.
SED delivers the ground control system for Canada’s first Communications Technology Satellite.
The conversion of the Prince Albert Radar Laboratory to a satellite tracking station constitutes SED’s first ground station. The station, operated by SED for the next 16 years, receives the first remote sensing images of earth taken by the first Landsat satellite.
SED diversifies into agricultural instrumentation products including a mastitis detector for dairy cattle and various seeder and grain loss monitors. The division is later spun-off as a private Saskatoon company. More than a dozen local companies trace their roots to SED.
Using technology developed for space, SED’s HILDA, a system to measure vibration frequencies in high voltage power lines, wins the Governor-General’s award for design.
The company is reorganized to become SED Systems Inc. The company is operating as four divisions that reflect its major contracts; Satellite Ground Systems, Defense and Government Systems, Custom Manufacturing, and Space Programs. SED moves into its current facility at 18 Innovation Boulevard in 1987.
SED installs the most northerly known geo-synchronous satellite communications system at Eureka, 81N.
SED begins work with Hughes Aircraft Company to provide satellite test and ground control equipment. This relationship continues today with HAC’s successor, Boeing Satellite Systems.
SED works with Telesat Canada to provide satellite-tracking systems in Canada and Guam.
SED provides the entire ground control system for Brazil’s domestic communications satellites. The project spawns significant new technology including the first of SED’s in-orbit test systems.
A mission operations system is provided to Canada’s Search and Rescue Satellite program.
SED enters the contract manufacturing business by building radar displays for Transport Canada’s modernization of its air traffic control network.
The company signs one of its largest contracts ever, to provide communications equipment for Canada’s new patrol frigates.
SED’s GEODE becomes Canada’s first rocket-borne microgravity payload. SED also designs and builds SMS, a supra-thermal mass spectrometer which becomes the first foreign instrument to be flown on a Japanese satellite, AKEBONO.
Work is underway at SED on ground-based equipment to test Canadarm-II, the robotic manipulator now installed on the international Space Station.
Work is also underway on ground systems and test equipment for the RADARSAT-1 program, Canada’s first remote sensing satellite.
Calian Technologies of Kanata ON buys SED from its then-owner, Fleet Aerospace, and SED becomes Calian’s Systems Engineering Division.
1991 – 2000
SED establishes itself as a world-leader in the area of in-orbit test, delivering systems to KoreaSat, ICO, Thuraya, Mabuhay and Telenor. The system for GlobalStar is the first- known commercial IOT for testing communications payloads on low-earth orbiting satellites.
The company begins operations support for RADARSAT-1, a contract that continued until the loss of RADARSAT-1 in 2013. A co-prime TT&C system is located adjacent to SED’s facility in Saskatoon.
SED’s Inmarsat B/M Gateway Access Control and Signaling Equipment is the first in the world to be operating in all four ocean regions.
Based on initial contracts with WorldSpace Corporation to provide ground infrastructure for the first-ever digital radio service via satellite, XM Satellite Radio awards SED the contract to build its satellite digital radio uplink delivery and authorization systems.
The company develops a leading-edge adaptive antenna receiving system for use in the Canadian military.
A major contract is awarded to SED for the manufacture of thousands of cable harnesses for the IRIS program.
SED signs the largest contract ever awarded to a Canadian company by the European Space Agency for a 35 meter deep-space antenna system. This antenna, as part of ESAs deep space network, is used on the Rosetta deep space mission.
Inmarsat awards SED contracts for mobility management and network control systems for their global mobile communications network.
2000 – 2010
Satellite operations for Radarsat-1 continue. In 2005, the satellite achieves 10 years of service in orbit, exceeding its design lifetime by 100% – and it is still in operation today. In 2007, SED is awarded several additional satellite operations contracts including one to provide services for Radarsat-2 operations, another from the Ciel Satellite Group to expand SED’s satellite control center facilities in Saskatoon in preparation for the initiation of tracking, telemetry and control operations for the Ciel-2 satellite.
Based on the success of the first system, the European Space Agency purchases a second 35m deep space antenna system from SED; this one is installed in Cebreros, Spain.
SED is a major supplier in the roll-out of Inmarsat’s BGAN service, providing in-orbit test systems, a variety of network and resource management systems, and a number of RF subsystems located around the world.
SED begins manufacturing various systems and components used by Systems and Electronics Inc., to manufacture a Manportable Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (MSTAR) system used in surveillance and security applications.
The company applies its satellite technology to non-satellite, wireless applications as SED provides a major telecommunications equipment supplier with customized Ka-band test fixtures to verify the operation of digital microwave radios.
SED develops the Decimator low-cost spectrum analyser which is sold world-wide as a product as well as a part of the systems we develop.
Under a Science and Technology Development Program grant from the Canadian Space Agency, SED develops its Starcast DVB-S modulator product. This product is spun into the DVB-S/S2/Turbo modulator, a multi-channel modulator as well as a platform for custom modulators such as spread spectrum and beacon generators.
SED provides Access Control and Signaling Equipment for Skywave’s global low data rate system. SED also provides Inmarsat with the Ground Earth Stations for Inmarsat I4 and I3 Aeronautical Mobile Networks.
To complete ESA’s deep space network a third 35m antenna is awarded to SED and is installed in Malargüe, Argentina.
SED is awarded the contract to build the In-Orbit Test Systems, Capacity Planning Systems and the RF ground systems for Inmarsat’s next generation Ka-band mobile communications system called GlobalXpress.
The Canadian Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) awards SED a contract to build a network of remote sensing satellite ground stations.
SED designs and builds satellite and cable infrastructure test systems under an OEM agreement for a major test equipment manufacturer.
General Dynamics Land Systems awards SED a contract to design and manufacture Power Control Modules for its military vehicle program.
The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGS) presents SED with the 2016 Exceptional Engineering/Geoscience Project Award for our contribution to the ESA Rosetta Mission.
SED is awarded the contract to provide two Earth-observation antenna systems to MDA in support of the Canadian DND Polar Epsilon 2 project. SED will design, install and commission RF antenna systems for MDA’s ground systems in Nova Scotia and BC.
SED is proud of its long history of service and accomplishments. The expertise and capabilities developed over 50 years in the industry are being applied successfully today to meet the new challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.