Advanced Television

Telesat ramps up Lightspeed production

November 10, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Ottawa-based satellite operator Telesat says it is ramping up its investment in its Lightspeed low Earth orbiting fleet and helped by C$2 billion (€1.3bn) of funds coming from Canadian government and provincial sources.

Lightspeed, an initial 156-craft fleet and which could be extended by an extra 100 craft, is costed at C$3.5 billion. Telesat says that it expects the cash funding from the Canadian federal and Quebec provincial governments will appear by the end of this year or early in 2024.

That positive cashflow will enable Telesat to begin making its obligational payments to Lightspeed’s prime contractor MDA Corp.

CEO Dan Goldberg said he was confident that the Canadian government investment would be made. That MDA contract is worth C$2.1 billion and covers the manufacture of a total 198 craft. The current plan is to launch the initial fleet on 14 SpaceX rockets starting in 2026.

Goldberg confirmed that Telesat had bought an SES craft (SES AMC-11C) which it will deploy at the position occupied by Telesat’s Anik F2 which had suffered a power problem.

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