September 12 2023  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Telesat and SpaceX announce Telesat Lightspeed LEO Satellite launch program

By Alex Preston

SpaceX will begin the first of 14 launches of Telesat's Lightspeed LEO satellites, in 2026, concluding in 2027

Telesat has contracted 14 launches on SpaceX’s Falcon 9, which will carry up to 18 Telesat Lightspeed satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) per launch. The launch campaign is scheduled to commence in 2026 and will take advantage of SpaceX’s high launch cadence to rapidly deploy the satellites and enable Telesat to begin providing global service in 2027. Launches for the campaign will lift off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in California and Florida.

The optically-linked Telesat Lightspeed network will provide multi-Gbps data links and highly secure, resilient, low-latency broadband connectivity anywhere in the world.

“SpaceX has been a trusted and effective launch provider to Telesat on our geostationary satellite programs and I am delighted that they will be supporting us with their highly reliable Falcon 9 rocket to deploy the Telesat Lightspeed constellation, the most ambitious program in Telesat’s 54-year history,” stated Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO in a September 11 statement. “Given the dedication and professionalism of the SpaceX team, and their outstanding track record of reliability and demonstrated high launch cadence, I have the utmost confidence that they will be an outstanding partner in helping us bring Telesat Lightspeed into service in a timely and low risk manner.”

“With growing demand for high-speed internet around the world, SpaceX is proud to launch and deploy Telesat’s Lightspeed constellation” added SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. “Building upon our successful launch partnership to-date, we look forward to flying Telesat once again as they expand connectivity capabilities for their customers across the globe.”

In August, Telesat confirmed MDA as the manufacturer of the 198 advanced satellites in the LEO constellation which has secured capital investment of approximately US$3.5 billion.

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