Canada’s Telesat has announced a partnership with SpaceX for the launch of its low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation called Lightspeed. The aim of this project is to provide global broadband service from space by late 2027. LEO satellites operate much closer to Earth than traditional satellites, resulting in improved and faster broadband service, even in remote areas.
Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg expressed enthusiasm for the agreement, stating that it is a significant step forward in their efforts to deploy Lightspeed. SpaceX was selected for this partnership due to their combination of competitive pricing, performance, reliability, and scheduling capabilities.
The contract includes 14 launches, with each Falcon 9 rocket carrying up to 18 satellites into orbit. The deployment of the entire constellation is expected to be completed by the end of 2027, three years later than originally planned. Telesat had previously awarded Canada’s MDA Ltd the contract to build its 198 satellites, resulting in a projected cost savings of $2 billion. However, due to various challenges such as the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain and inflation, Telesat had to revise its plans and seek additional launch services.
Telesat’s entry into the LEO network market is primarily aimed at serving enterprise customers, including mobile operators, governments, aircraft, and shipping companies. While most of the competition in this sector is focused on the consumer market, Telesat aims to address the needs of specific industries and sectors.
The partnership with SpaceX not only allows Telesat to fulfill its initial commitment of 198 satellites, but it also provides flexibility to expand the constellation further. This collaboration will play a significant role in meeting the growing demand for satellite-based broadband services globally.
Overall, the agreement between Telesat and SpaceX marks a significant milestone in the development of the Lightspeed satellite constellation, fostering the expansion of global broadband connectivity from space.