Telesat launches LEO 3 demo satellite
July 17, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Telesat has used RocketLab to launch its LEO 3 prototype satellite. The craft is a demonstrator for a proposed 200 satellite mega-constellation, called Lightspeed.
The LEO 3 demonstration satellite will provide continuity for customer and ecosystem vendor testing campaigns following the decommissioning of Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. Once deployed to orbit, LEO 3 will operate under an existing ITU network filing for Telesat Lightspeed, the company’s enterprise-class LEO constellation.
RocketLab’s Electron mission which carried the LEO 3 satellite was scheduled for lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on July 16th. To meet Telesat’s program requirements, Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Toronto, the craft’s builder. SFL selected Rocket Lab to deliver the satellite to space on an accelerated timeline within four months of contract signing.
The flight carried 6 other satellites. Rocket Lab called Sunday’s mission, the company’s 39th to date, “Baby Come Back.” After getting its payloads to space, the Electron’s first stage was planned tol come back to Earth under parachutes and make a soft splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Rocket Lab intends to recover the booster and haul it back to land for inspection and analysis.