Canada’s Telesat Satellites ‘More Advanced’ vs SpaceX Starlink Says VP

Recently, SpaceX has received a lot of attention for its low-Earth orbiting satellite internet network, Starlink.

However, Starlink isn’t the only product on the market trying to accomplish high-speed, rural internet – competitors Telesat and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos are putting pressure on SpaceX’s plans, and it’s unclear how exactly this competition will affect the market in several years, according to CBC.

Bezos’ spacecraft company, Blue Origin, has its own satellite internet company called Project Kuiper. Project Kuiper is planning to launch 3,200 spacecrafts into low-orbit, once it can get approved for such.

Canadian satellite company Telesat has largely been involved in satellite TV, though it launched its first low-orbit satellite in January 2018 and it’s expected to make a move into internet networks.

Bezos’ Project Kuiper has already directed $10 billion (USD) towards the company’s plans to launch satellites, and their ability to bankroll so many projects is likely what makes Amazon such a great threat to SpaceX in the low-Earth satellite orbit department.

Chris Forrestor, of Advance Television, thinks so too.

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Forrestor told reporters, “Amazon are a year or two away from launching their service.” He continued, “Potentially, Amazon is a much greater threat than anyone else.”

Ottawa-based Telesat told CBC News it believes its satellite tech is more advanced than SpaceX’s Starlink.

Telesat’s service will differ from Starlink’s direct-to-consumer approach, as it will instead work with telecos and ISPs, sending signals down to existing infrastructure in rural areas, to then only be transferred to consumers.

“Our satellites are actually more complex, I would say, than Starlink,” said Michele Beck, Telesat’s vice-president North American Sales. “We’ve got certainly more advanced capabilities on our satellite, which frankly allows us to deliver more throughput per satellite.”

Telesat is behind SpaceX Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper, however, as it says it will begin orders for construction of 298 satellites later this fall. Telesat LOE satellites will orbit at 1,000 to 1,300 kilometres (621 to 807 miles) above earth, versus the 550 kilometres (341 miles) for Starlink. The service plans to launch in Canada in late 2022 and globally in 2023.

While the news could be worrisome to SpaceX, they’ve got a jump on the market, and they are the only ones to have launched a mass amount of satellites into orbit, thus far at least.

Earlier today, SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites into space via its own Falcon 9 rocket, again adding to its lead versus competitors.