UK-based small satellite builder Surrey Satellite Technology has shipped Telesat’s broadband LEO-1 craft to India in readiness for launch later in December.
The satellite, built for Canadian satellite operator Telesat, is the first in a new fleet of Low Earth Orbiting craft which will eventually number 290 in orbit. Telesat is obliged to launch half of the new fleet, that was about 140 craft, within 6 years. The balance, once the second batch had been launched, would be in-orbit spares/replacements. Telesat had previously spoken of an initial fleet size of 117 satellites.
India’s Space Research Organisation will orbit the satellite next month, but a similar satellite (LEO-2) has been built by Space Systems/Loral and is scheduled for launch on Nov 28th on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
LEO-1 will be one of two Telesat Phase 1 satellites planned for launch this year that will allow Telesat to start testing key performance parameters of its next generation global LEO constellation. The LEO-1 satellite has a launch mass of 168kg and will be launched into an initial sun-synchronous orbit. After launch SSTL will complete commissioning of the spacecraft and will perform orbit-raising manoeuvres to achieve the final planned orbit. Command of the spacecraft will then be handed over to Telesat for in-orbit operations using the Ka-band payload.