Telesat to start LEO services in 2022
October 12, 2020
By Chris Forrester
Ottawa-based satellite operator Telesat has reportedly told the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that it will start supply a basic LEO broadband-by-satellite service in 2022. But there are considerable complications to that promise.
In a separate presentation made at last week’s Satellite Innovation webinar Telesat’s Erwin Hudson (VP/LEO division) told delegates that its polar orbiting satellites would start services to terrestrial, aviation, and maritime business and similar commercial clients as well as to government customers.
The ITU commitment, reported by Space Intel Report, talked about the service being available to customers north of the 55-degree North latitude (and south of the 55 degree South latitude) with a global service following in 2023.
However, the other – not inconsiderable – complication is that Telesat has only one trial LEO satellite in service (launched in January 2018). A long-awaited contract to build a fleet of Low Earth orbiting satellites has yet to be placed.
Telesat has an obligation to have at least 10 percent of that LEO fleet in orbit by February 2023, unless it is given a delay dispensation by regulators. It would also seem that Telesat would use a combination of LEO and geostationary satellites to provide connectivity.