Telesat’s Erwin Hudson (VP/Low Earth Orbiting broadband division) speaking at last week’s Washington Satellite 2019 conference, said that the successful bidder for the company’s planned LEO fleet of “quite large” craft would be producing satellites at a rate of 20-25 a month.
Hudson told delegates that Ottawa-based Telesat was already working with several antenna suppliers in order to have user terminals ready for its proposed broadband service.
Hudson added that Telesat was likely to set up a dedicated factory in the US or Canada in order to produce the satellites in a timely fashion. He said that the target ‘in service’ date was toward the end of 2022 when Telesat should have some 200 satellites in orbit. Telesat is seeking to 300 satellites orbiting by 2023.
Two rivals are currently bidding for the work. Airbus, and a consortium made up of Canada’s Maxar Technologies (probably via its Space Systems/Loral subsidiary of Palo Alto, Calif.) and Thales Alenia Space. Bids are expected to be in by this summer with the successful bidder in place by the end of the year.
However, the broadband ambitions are not for the general public. Hudson said Telesat had three primary markets: Aviation/Aircraft, Maritime including cruise vessels, and the backhaul cellular market for telecos.