Telesat Selects Thales Alenia Space and Maxar Technologies for LEO Satellite Constellation Systems Design

File photo from November 7, 2017. The first Telesat LEO prototype satellite is ready and at the Russian launch complex. Credit: SSL.

Telesat announced today it has selected a consortium comprised of Thales Alenia Space and Maxar Technologies to further systems design for Telesat’s LEO constellation.

Leading up to the selection, Telesat had built contracted two demonstration satellites for the LEO constellation, LEO-1 and LEO-2. LEO-2 was built SSL, a Maxar Technologies company with Toronto based sub-contractor Spaceflight Laboratory. That satellite was lost when the rocket it was launched on had its trajectory incorrectly programmed. LEO-1, built by SSTL in the U.K. was successfully launched this past January.

According to Telesat “over the coming months, Thales Alenia Space-Maxar will complete their preliminary design, address key hardware and software development items, and perform a series of technical reviews leading to a firm proposal for manufacture and launch of Telesat’s LEO satellites and deployment of the ground system infrastructure. Telesat anticipates deciding by mid-2019 on a prime contractor for Telesat’s LEO program – space segment, ground segment and system integration. ”

The news would also benefit another Maxar Technologies company, Canada’s MDA. According to the Maxar press release, MDA would be a part of a contract awarded to the Thales Alenia Space – Maxar Technologies consortium.

MDA is already contracted to mass-produce antennas for the OneWeb constellation using a new manufacturing facility in it Montreal location. It’s not a stretch to see them leverage that investment for a possible Telesat contract.

Erwin Hudson, Vice President Telesat LEO said “we are very pleased that we have now signed the outstanding team of Thales Alenia Space-Maxar who will further develop their design and submit a final proposal in early 2019 for Telesat’s full LEO system, both space and ground segment. Combining Telesat’s proprietary LEO architecture with our global spectrum rights creates a tremendous opportunity for Telesat’s LEO system to truly transform global communications. Telesat looks forward to this next phase of the program and to selecting a prime contractor to build and deploy our LEO space and ground infrastructure.”

“For Maxar Technologies, a global leader of advanced space technology solutions, participation in the consortium with Thales Alenia Space demonstrates the value of our SSL and MDA businesses working together to bring integrated solutions that drive competitive advantages for satellite operators such as Telesat”, said Dario Zamarian, Group President, SSL.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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