Mon. Dec 11th, 2023
MDA Receives 180 Million Canadian Dollars Contract for Satellite Engineering

MDA, a Canadian space hardware specialist, has announced that an undisclosed customer has awarded the company a contract worth 180 million Canadian dollars ($131 million) to begin the engineering process for a non-geostationary constellation of 36 satellites. The contract could potentially quadruple in value if MDA advances to become the prime contractor for the constellation next year.

This is the second customer order that MDA has received for a new software-defined satellite design that can be reconfigured in orbit to adapt to changes in demand. Telesat, a Canadian operator, had previously chosen MDA’s spacecraft product for their proposed low Earth orbit (LEO) Lightspeed broadband constellation, which will consist of 198 satellites weighing 750 kilograms each and will be deployed starting in mid-2026.

In addition to the Telesat project, MDA is also providing Globalstar of the United States with 17 LEO satellites in 2025 to refresh a constellation used by Apple for the iPhone’s space-enabled emergency services.

To meet the increasing demand from constellation customers, MDA is expanding its production facilities in Montreal. The company aims to have the capacity to produce two satellites per day. Production volumes are currently scaling up according to customer orders.

While MDA has a successful track record of producing satellite components at scale, the simultaneous construction of three constellations poses schedule risks for the manufacturer. However, MDA’s expertise in digital payloads and advanced beam-forming antennas allows for the reduction of size, weight, and power of spacecraft without compromising capability.

This contract with the undisclosed customer comes shortly after MDA’s acquisition of SatixFy Space Systems UK Ltd, which will facilitate the company’s expansion into the United Kingdom and enhance its ability to produce satellite payloads.

By securing this contract and expanding its capabilities, MDA solidifies its position as a leading provider in the satellite engineering industry.