SpaceX inks 14-launch deal to loft Telesat’s ‘Lightspeed’ internet constellation

SpaceX is teaming up with revolutionary satellite tv for pc operator Telesat for a sequence of 14 launches starting in 2026.

Every mission will see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carry as many as 18 Lightspeed web satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO).

The multi-launch collaboration between the 2 corporations was introduced on Monday (Sept. 11) and can make the most of the flexibility of SpaceX‘s famously fast launch cadence. The liftoffs will happen from California and Florida.

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Telesat hopes will probably be in a position to check its Lightspeed constellation — an optically linked community that can present a number of gigabytes per second of knowledge hyperlinks and broadband connectivity throughout the globe — by 2027. The corporate goals to start out offering companies that very same 12 months, after a historical past of delays skilled by the undertaking.

“SpaceX has been a trusted and efficient launch supplier to Telesat on our geostationary satellite tv for pc applications, and I’m delighted that they are going to be supporting us with their extremely dependable Falcon 9 rocket to deploy the Telesat Lightspeed constellation, probably the most bold program in Telesat’s 54-year historical past,” Telesat President and CEO Dan Goldberg stated in an announcement.

The Lightspeed constellation shall be populated by round 198 satellites constructed by worldwide area firm MDA, which Telesat ordered in August 2023, House Information reported. The 1,650-pound (750 kilograms) LEO satellites exchange a bigger model, which was initially set to be constructed for Telesat by Thales Alenia House, however manufacturing delays pressured the change to MDA, leading to a $1.6 billion USD contract between Telesat and the Canada-based firm.

Telesat had initially deliberate to start launching its Lightspeed models in 2020 previous to the delay. Goldberg informed SpaceNews that he now hopes that MDA will be capable of create roughly one satellite tv for pc a day for the constellation starting in September 2024.

Goldberg defined that Telesat has the funding for 156 satellites that shall be wanted for the Lightspeed constellation to start delivering web companies, and it’s at the moment making an attempt to get funding for the extra 42 models wanted to offer the community with improved sign density.

The 14 Falcon 9 launches shall be able to delivering 252 models to orbit at most, however the whole variety of satellites that every mission will be capable of launch will rely on the angle and inclination of the orbits into which they’re to be deployed.


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“Given the dedication and professionalism of the SpaceX staff, and their excellent observe report of reliability and demonstrated excessive launch cadence, I’ve the utmost confidence that they are going to be an excellent associate in serving to us convey Telesat Lightspeed into service in a well timed and low-risk method,” Goldberg concluded.

SpaceX already operates its personal web constellation, known as Starlink, which at the moment consists of greater than 4,700 operational satellites, all of which have been launched by Falcon 9 rockets.

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