April 14, 2024

Telesat partners with MDA for satellite manufacture

Telesat, the satellite operator, has partnered with space technology company MDA to build 198 advanced satellites for the Telesat Lightspeed Low Earth Orbit (LEO) programme.

Its re-designed Lightspeed network will achieve increased network efficiency and enhanced flexibility to focus and dynamically deliver capacity to users.

These technology advances allow each satellite to be slightly smaller than the satellites Telesat was previously considering, while still maintaining high levels of service performance, resiliency and overall usable capacity in the network.

It will also be cost-effective, resulting in anticipated total capital cost savings for the 198-satellite programme of approximately $2 billion compared to Telesat’s prior capital estimate. 

The Telesat Lightspeed programme begins immediately, with satellite launches scheduled to commence in mid-2026 and polar and global services scheduled to begin in late 2027.

Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the Telesat team for their innovative work to further optimise our Telesat Lightspeed design – which was already a highly advanced and high performing LEO network – resulting in dramatically reduced costs with unmatched enterprise-class service offerings.”

“MDA’s deep expertise as a LEO prime contractor, as well our own leading expertise in satellite operations and systems engineering, gives us the highest level of confidence in meeting our objectives,” added Goldberg.

Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA, said: “True to our values, MDA has been committed to being a trusted Telesat Lightspeed mission partner since the beginning and our proven performance as a LEO constellation satellite prime contractor will now be leveraged to take the constellation forward.”

“We believe in Telesat’s mission and vision and are excited that our software-defined digital satellite product will be a key enabler in meeting their goals as we work together to usher in the next generation of space-based satellite communications,” added Greenley.