Planned Comsat Constellations Now Exceed 94,000 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A wave of new applications submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week for approval for communications satellites operating in the V band has sent the number of spacecraft in large constellations soaring to nearly 100,000.

A list compiled by Parabolic Arc shows that 94,255 satellites are included in the constellations. That number includes 29,439 satellites approved by the FCC or in development in China. The FCC has applicants pending before it for another 64,816 satellites.

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Astra Space Applies to Launch More than 13,000 Satellites; Proposed Broadband Constellations Exceed 79,000 Spacecraft

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Astra Space has applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the launch more than 13,000 communications satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), joining SpaceX, OneWeb, Amazon and other companies seeking to provide broadband services across the globe. The application brings the number of proposed satellites in these constellations to more than 79,000.

“The Astra Constellation as proposed would ultimately consist of as many as 13,620 operational LEO satellites, supported by a global network of gateway earth stations utilizing the identified V-band frequency bands for feeder links for space-to-earth transmit and receive,” the company’s application said.

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Telesat Lightspeed to Bridge Ontario’s Digital Divide Through $109 Million Partnership with the Government of Ontario

Partnership ensures affordable, high-speed broadband connectivity and LTE/5G to remote communities, job creation, investment and economic growth in Ontario

OTTAWA, CANADA, August 6, 2021 (Telesat PR) – Telesat, one of the world’s largest and most innovative satellite operators proudly headquartered in Ontario for over 50 years, and the Government of Ontario today announced that they have partnered to bridge the digital divide in Ontario by leveraging Telesat’s advanced, state-of-the-art Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, Telesat Lightspeed.

This $109 million (US $86.8 million) agreement will futureproof and diversify Ontario’s connectivity infrastructure, lay the groundwork for continued development and commercialization of Canadian satellite technologies and pave the way for future economic growth and jobs.

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Fun with Figures: Move Over Starlink, Here Comes China’s Satellite Mega-Constellation

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Chinese government recently formed a company to develop a satellite mega-constellation that would exceed SpaceX’s rival Starlink communications network in size, according to media reports.

The newly created China Satellite Network Group Co. will oversee the development of a communications satellite constellation that will include 12,992 satellites. China has filed for spectrum allocation for the constellation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The Chinese constellation would be the largest in the world with 1,049 more satellites than the 11,943 Starlink satellites approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Together, the Chinese and Starlink satellites would place 24,935 satellites into Earth orbit.

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Telesat Canada Announces Pricing of US$500 Million Secured Notes Offering to Fund Satellite Constellation

OTTAWA, CANADA, April 13, 2021 (Telesat Canada PR) – Telesat Canada (“Telesat”) today announced the pricing of an offering (the “Offering”) of US$500 million aggregate principal amount of 5.625% senior secured notes due 2026 (the “Senior Secured Notes”) by Telesat and Telesat LLC. The Senior Secured Notes will be secured by a first priority lien on the collateral that secures Telesat’s existing credit agreement and existing 4.875% senior secured notes due 2027. The Senior Secured Notes are expected to be issued on or around April 27, 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

Telesat intends to use the net proceeds from the Offering to fund additional investment into one or more unrestricted subsidiaries for the development of Telesat Lightspeed, Telesat’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, for the payment of fees and expenses related to the Offering, and if the funding needs of Telesat Lightspeed are less than currently anticipated, for general corporate purposes.

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Telesat Lightspeed to Receive $400 Million Investment from the Government of Québec

  • The Lightspeed program is expected to bring $1.8 billion of investment into the Québec aerospace sector, creating 600 new highly-skilled, high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth.
  • Telesat selects Canada’s MDA to deliver the state-of-the-art phased array antennas for Lightspeed satellites.
  • Telesat’s prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, will establish the Lightspeed satellites’ final assembly and manufacturing in Québec and is in discussions with Québec-based partners.

MONTRÉAL (Telesat PR) – Telesat, one of the world’s largest satellite operators, announced today that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Québec for an investment of $400 million [US $317 million] into Telesat Lightspeed, Telesat’s highly advanced Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. Telesat will invest $1.6 billion [US $1.27 billion] into Québec, both directly and through its supply chain, which will include a significant portion of Lightspeed manufacturing and operations. The Lightspeed program will create 600 high-paying STEM jobs, leverage Québec’s substantial aerospace expertise and infrastructure, and allow the province to harness the significant economic growth from the burgeoning New Space Economy.

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MDA Selected for Major Role on Telesat Lightspeed Satellite Constellation

MONTREAL, February 18, 2021 (MDA PR) — MDA announced today that it has been selected to provide one of the critical technology subsystems on Telesat Lightspeed, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network recently unveiled by Telesat, one of the world’s largest satellite operators. With advanced antenna design and manufacturing capabilities at its modern facility in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, this job-creating project enjoys the support of the Government of Quebec through a financial contribution.

MDA will develop the Direct Radiating Array (DRA), a revolutionary phased array, electronically-steered multi-beam antenna that will provide unlimited coverage flexibility and agility through advanced beam-forming technology. This configuration will achieve any-beam, anytime, anywhere coverage over the entire visible Earth. This new technology represents a major and key investment for the success of MDA’s Satellite Systems business, as it is expected that most LEO, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellite markets will migrate to these technologies in the future. MDA will deliver over 1000 units. MDA is also in advanced discussions with Thales Alenia Space for the Lightspeed satellites’ final assembly and manufacturing in Québec.

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