Telesat has signed contracts with a consortium comprising Thales Alenia Space and Maxar Technologies/SS-L to carry out the preliminary design for the proposed ‘super constellation’ of Telesat Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites.
Telesat wants to operate an initial 120 LEO satellites, and have them in orbit by 2021.
Ottawa-based Telesat, in its statement, said the consortium had submitted a highly innovative approach for maximising the performance and service capabilities of Telesat’s LEO constellation architecture. “Thales Alenia Space and Maxar have collaborated on major satellite programs around the world and each brings a broad range of technical skills and experience along with a strong belief in the project and a commitment to its success.”
Over the coming months, Thales Alenia Space-Maxar will complete their preliminary design, address key hardware and software development items, and perform a series of technical reviews leading to a firm proposal for manufacture and launch of Telesat’s LEO satellites and deployment of the ground system infrastructure. Telesat anticipates deciding by mid-2019 on a prime contractor for Telesat’s LEO programme – space segment, ground segment and system integration, said Telesat.
Telesat says its state-of-the-art LEO constellation will transform global communications by offering an unsurpassed combination of capacity, speed, security, resiliency and low cost with latency that is as good or better than the most advanced terrestrial networks. It will serve the entire globe and become a core component in satisfying many of the world’s most challenging communications requirements. Telesat LEO will accelerate 5G expansion, end the digital divide with fibre-like high speed services into rural and remote communities and set new levels of performance for commercial and government broadband on land, sea and in the air.
A test satellite (‘Phase 1 LEO’) is already in orbit, and it is generally assumed that the consortium will now receive the order to build the LEO satellites.