DARPA Kicks Off Program to Develop Low-Earth Orbit Satellite ‘Translator’

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — DARPA has selected 11 teams for Phase 1 of the Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, known as Space-BACN. Space-BACN aims to create a low-cost, reconfigurable optical communications terminal that adapts to most optical intersatellite link standards, translating between diverse satellite constellations. Space-BACN would create an “internet” of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, enabling seamless communication between military/government and commercial/civil satellite constellations that currently are unable to talk with each other.

The agency selected teams from academia and large and small commercial companies, including multiple performers awarded first-time contracts with the Department of Defense.

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NASA, Industry to Collaborate on Space Communications by 2025

An artist rendering of a NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) in orbit. TDRS provides a vital communications link between ground facilities and the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and a host of Earth science satellites. The agency would decommission TDRS to enable commercial providers to support future near-Earth communication mission requirements. (Credits: NASA)

CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — NASA selected six American satellite communications (SATCOM) providers on April 20 to begin developing and demonstrating near-Earth space communication services that may support future agency missions.

For more than a year, the agency has been evaluating the feasibility of employing commercial SATCOM networks for near-Earth operations as it works to decommission its near-Earth satellite fleet. This approach would allow NASA to focus more time and resources on its deep space exploration and science missions.

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Anuvu Secures Major Capacity Deal With Telesat Strengthening Its ‘Bridge to LEO’

New agreement provides Anuvu with 10 Gigabits of Ka-band capacity, the largest acquisition so far in Anuvu’s Bridge to LEO strategy

LOS ANGELES, CA and OTTAWA, CANADA – February 14, 2022 – Anuvu and Telesat (NASDAQ and TSX: TSAT) have announced today the largest yet in a series of satellite capacity deals, providing Anuvu and its customers with new Ka-band connectivity over the Southeastern US, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and Central America.

Under the agreement, Anuvu, the leading provider of high-speed connectivity and entertainment solutions for demanding worldwide mobility markets, will add approximately ten gigabits of Ka-band capacity, from Telesat starting next month. This adds to Anuvu’s existing global multi-band capacity on 54 satellites from 11 satellite operators around the world.

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Telesat Selects Cobham SATCOM for Telesat Lightspeed Landing Station Terminals

OTTAWA, Ont. (Telesat PR) — Telesat (NASDAQ and TSX: TSAT), one of the world’s largest and most innovative satellite operators, and Cobham SATCOM, a leading global provider of satellite communications solutions to the land and maritime sectors, have announced an Agreement to deploy high-performance Cobham SATCOM 3-axis TRACKER 4000 terminals for the Telesat Lightspeed Landing Station network.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cobham SATCOM will manufacture, integrate, and install advanced Ka-band tracking antennas at Telesat’s sites throughout the world, and provide long-term logistics and maintenance support. The radome-protected antennas will provide accurate tracking in the most adverse weather conditions, ensuring high availability and throughput for carrier-grade performance.  Based on Cobham SATCOM’s successful TRACKER Gateway series, the Landing Station terminals offer industry-leading performance, high reliability, and low total cost of ownership. 

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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 to Receive CAN $1.44 billion Through Government of Canada investment, a Major Milestone Towards Completing the Financing of Telesat Lightspeed

Telesat Lightspeed will bridge the digital divide, create hundreds of new high-quality jobs in Canada, spur domestic investment and exports, and ensure Canada is at the forefront of the rapidly-growing New Space Economy

OTTAWA, Ont., August 12, 2021 (Telesat PR) – Telesat, one of the world’s largest and most innovative satellite operators, announced today that it expects to receive a $1.44 billion [USD $1.15 billion] investment from the Government of Canada to support Telesat Lightspeed, the world’s most advanced Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. This investment will drive economic growth and innovation in Canada and help ensure affordable broadband Internet and LTE/5G connectivity for all Canadians.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Government of Canada would provide a loan of $790 million and make a $650 million preferred equity investment in Telesat Lightspeed. In return, Telesat will commit to make certain minimum capital and operating expenditures in Canada in connection with the program and, in addition, to create hundreds of Canadian high-quality, full-time jobs and co-ops and provide academic scholarships. Through Telesat and its Canadian supply chain, the Telesat Lightspeed program is expected to support over 1,500 Canadian jobs, largely in STEM.

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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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Telesat to Redefine Global Broadband Connectivity with Telesat Lightspeed, the World’s Most Advanced Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Network

Thales Alenia Space Selected to Manufacture First-of-its-kind Dynamic LEO Broadband Network with Services Starting in 2023

OTTAWA, CANADA, February 09, 2021 (Telesat PR) – Telesat, one of the world’s largest satellite operators, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Thales Alenia Space to be the prime manufacturer of Telesat’s global LEO constellation, Lightspeed, initially comprised of a fleet of 298 next-generation satellites integrated with an advanced ground network. Lightspeed is the most innovative, cutting-edge broadband satellite network ever conceived. Thales Alenia Space and its affiliate Telespazio have made a Lightspeed capacity commitment in connection with the agreement.

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Telesat to Become Public Company through Agreement with Loral Space & Communications and PSP Investments

Telesat to remain Canadian controlled, will become a publicly listed company on Nasdaq, and is considering listing on a Canadian stock exchange.

OTTAWA, CANADA, November 24, 2020 (Telesat Canada PR) – Telesat Canada announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Loral Space & Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: LORL) (Loral) and Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) pursuant to which Telesat Canada and Loral will become subsidiaries of Telesat Corporation (Telesat), a new publicly traded Canadian incorporated and controlled company.  

The shares of Telesat will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market at the closing of the transaction, the market on which Loral is currently listed, and Telesat is also considering a listing on a Canadian stock exchange in connection with the closing of the transaction in 2021. Telesat Corporation will be headquartered in Ottawa and led by Telesat Canada’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel S. Goldberg. Telesat’s voting and governance provisions will ensure that the company is and remains Canadian-controlled.

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Telesat, Canadian Government Finalize $600M Agreement to Bridge Canada’s Digital Divide with Telesat’s LEO Satellite Constellation

OTTAWA, CANADA, November 9, 2020 (Telesat PR) – Telesat and the Government of Canada announced today the completion of their agreement to ensure affordable, high-speed broadband connectivity across all of Canada with Telesat’s advanced, state-of-the-art Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation.

Following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2019, this $600 million CAD (US $459.4 million) agreement enables Internet and mobility service providers to acquire Telesat LEO capacity at substantially reduced rates to bring universal broadband connectivity to rural, Northern and Indigenous communities across Canada. Telesat will be eligible to receive amounts under the agreement over a ten year period once the Telesat LEO constellation enters service.

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