Sapphire is Canada’s first military satellite and plays an important role in space-based surveillance of outer space. It is designed to monitor Earth’s orbit for man-made space debris and other satellites. This data is used to predict and prevent collisions that would destroy important space-based infrastructure.

Organizing Orbits

Sapphire is classified as a Space Situational Awareness small-satellite system and was created for Canada’s Department of National Defence. It is currently the only non-American space-based asset providing data to the United States Space Surveillance Network.


  • 326 lbs – The mass of the Sapphire satellite
  • 6,000 km–40,000 km – The altitude it monitors for debris
  • 2,500+ – The number of satellites currently in orbit
  • 23,000 – The number of space debris pieces larger than 10 centimetres orbiting Earth