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Telesat plans broadband constellation

Canada’s Telesat says it will construct a new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation of Ka-band satellites in order to serve its broadband customers.

In April Telesat ordered up a pair of experimental satellites (one from Space Systems/Loral and the other from UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology) to help prove Telesat’s new concept, which is to see the LEO traffic merge with its Geostationary satellites, and to test what Telesat describes as a variety of technologies. Provisional launch date for these satellites is 2017.

Telesat’s president/CEO Dan Goldberg says Telesat is pursuing a LEO constellation in tandem with larger High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in Geostationary orbit to meet rising demand for data and connectivity services.

He added that the LEO constellation will be very supportive of connectivity for mobile platforms.

Telesat CTO Dave Wendling recently amplified the work to be done, saying that the payloads provide similar capability while complementing each other to extend the overall capability. By working with two different vendors, Telesat says it will be able to assess a broader range of capabilities to determine those that can be leveraged to optimize the performance of its planned constellation.

Telesat is far from alone in seeking these new business opportunities from broadband clients. OneWeb, O3b and others are also seeking extra traffic from low-latency satellites.

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