Telesat, a prominent satellite operator, has entered into a substantial contract worth CAD 2.1 billion with space technology company MDA for the construction of 198 satellites. The satellites are intended for Telesat’s low-earth orbit (LEO) program, a strategic initiative that aims to revolutionize global connectivity.
This monumental deal, announced recently, has ignited significant market enthusiasm, with both Telesat’s Canadian and US shares experiencing a surge of over 45 percent. MDA’s shares also soared by approximately 29 percent in response to the news.
Telesat has set aside $3.5 billion in capital expenditure for its Lightspeed project, and the agreement with MDA is expected to result in savings of $2 billion.
The launch timeline for these satellites is slated to commence in mid-2026, with polar and global services anticipated to kick off in late 2027.
The innovative utilization of MDA’s advanced beam-forming array antennas and integrated regenerative processors will facilitate the redesign of Telesat’s Lightspeed network. This transformation is projected to yield heightened network efficiency and improved flexibility in delivering capacity to users. Notably, the incorporation of this technology will enable the construction of slightly smaller satellites compared to Telesat’s previous considerations.
The overarching objective of Telesat’s Lightspeed network is to cater to the connectivity needs of enterprise and government users. The network is designed to provide highly secure, resilient, and low-latency broadband connectivity on a global scale.
In a strategic step towards materializing its LEO ambitions, Telesat successfully launched its first LEO 3 demonstration satellite via Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket in July.
Alongside this significant contract announcement, Telesat also reported its second-quarter results. The company marked a substantial profit of CAD 519.9 million, a remarkable turnaround from the year-ago loss of CAD 4.38 million. However, the company’s revenue experienced a moderate decline of 4 percent during this period.
The collaboration between Telesat and MDA stands as a testament to the dynamic evolution of space technology and its potential to reshape global connectivity paradigms. As technological advancements in satellite construction and deployment continue to progress, the future of worldwide communication and accessibility takes a significant leap forward.