Year 2021
February 2021

Satellite operator Telesat has selected Thales Alenia Space to manufacture its global low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation, Lightspeed.

Lightspeed is an advanced broadband satellite network that will operate 1,000km above Earth in LEO.

It will initially comprise of a fleet of 298 next-generation satellites in the 700kg-750kg class integrated with an advanced ground network.

Thales Alenia Space has committed to deliver Lightspeed capacity satellites, along with its affiliate Telespazio.

Telesat president and CEO Dan Goldberg said: “We are very pleased to be moving forward with Thales Alenia Space on Lightspeed, the most advanced and capable LEO network in the world.

“As the world’s leader in manufacturing and implementing cutting-edge global satellite constellations, Thales Alenia Space is the right industrial partner to deliver Lightspeed, a fully integrated global communications network that will revolutionise satellite-delivered broadband and give Telesat and its customers a decisive competitive edge in this high growth market.”

Financing for the project is being finalised.

The first Lightspeed satellites are expected to be launched in approximately two years. It will be operated under Telesat’s global Ka-band priority spectrum rights.

Commercial services are expected to start in the second half of 2023.

Goldberg added: “The name Lightspeed underscores the essential speed advantages inherent to Telesat’s LEO design. Lightspeed is the most technologically capable satellite communications network in history and exploits the latest advances in space-based data processing, laser communications, digital antenna technology and machine learning.”

Source: Aerospace Technology

Feature Image: © Thales Alenia Space / Master Image Programmes