Advanced Television

Telesat gets €260m investment from Quebec

February 19, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Ottawa-based satellite operator Telesat, which last week announced plans to build 300 Low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites for its Lighspeed project, is to receive a C$400 million (€260m) investment from the government of Quebec. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Telesat and the Quebec government.

There is a catch. The cash comes in order to secure the new fleet’s final assembly and manufacturing in Quebec. C$200 million comes in the form of a direct investment, and the remaining C$200 million is a loan.

Telesat’s new fleet has been ordered from Thales Alenia Space. Telesat says “Thales Alenia Space, will establish the final manufacturing of the advanced Lightspeed satellites at an assembly, integration and testing facility in Québec and, in this regard, is in discussions with Québec-based partners. This state-of-the-art facility will leverage next-generation manufacturing capabilities to deliver on average one Lightspeed satellite per day. Lightspeed satellites are the most advanced LEO broadband satellites ever conceived, incorporating a wide range of cutting-edge, disruptive technologies.”

Telesat is already committed to investing $1.6 billion into Québec, both directly and through its supply chain, which will include a significant portion of Lightspeed manufacturing and operations.

“The Lightspeed programme will create 600 high-paying STEM jobs, leverage Québec’s substantial aerospace expertise and infrastructure, and allow the province to harness the significant economic growth from the burgeoning New Space Economy,” said Telesat.

“As a result of this agreement and given Québec’s world-class expertise and competencies in the aerospace sector, Québec will be a key partner for the manufacturing and operations of Lightspeed. Specifically, the province will be home to a large Telesat campus that will house a broad range of Lightspeed technical operations, including the Network Operating Centre, a Satellite Control Centre, the Cybersecurity Operations Centre, the Engineering Lab and an advanced Landing Station providing secure, high-capacity communication links to the Lightspeed constellation. This new campus will host approximately 320 new, highly skilled Telesat jobs, largely in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics),” added Telesat.

Also announced on Feb 18 Telesat says it has selected leading Canadian space technology company MDA to manufacture the cutting-edge phased array antennas to be incorporated into the Lightspeed satellites. In manufacturing these revolutionary antennas, MDA will leverage 3D additive manufacturing and will incorporate advanced beam hopping technology that will allow the Lightspeed constellation to dynamically and flexibly focus high capacity broadband links into rural and remote communities and other demand hot spots around the world.

“Telesat welcomes and appreciates the strong support and participation of the Government of Québec as we embark on Lightspeed, the most ambitious and consequential program in our more than 50-year history,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “The vast aerospace expertise resident in Québec, coupled with the Government’s leadership and vision for the fast-growing New Space Economy, provides an overwhelmingly compelling rationale for Telesat to make substantial investments in the province, including the manufacture of the Lightspeed satellites and the establishment of our extensive technical operations. We deeply value the world-class talent and capabilities in Québec and we are excited to welcome that talent into the Telesat family.”

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