SpaceX to Help Launch Telesat’s Lightspeed Satellites

Canada-based Telesat has signed to deal to have SpaceX launch its Lightspeed satellite constellation to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Under the agreement, Telesat will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9, known for being the most dependable and only reusable orbital rocket presently in operation, for a total of 14 launches. Each launch is set to transport up to 18 Telesat Lightspeed satellites to LEO. With a kick-off planned for 2026, the launches are strategically set to ensure the Telesat network can commence its global services by 2027. This major operation will be conducted from SpaceX’s launch sites located in both California and Florida.

Telesat’s Lightspeed network, designed specifically for high-priority, critical connectivity needs of government and enterprise clients, promises to offer secure, high-speed broadband with minimal latency worldwide. Following an agreement in August with MDA as the primary satellite producer and with all essential launch contracts settled, Telesat aims to roll out unparalleled enterprise-level connectivity by the end of 2027.

“SpaceX has been a trusted and effective launch provider to Telesat on our geostationary satellite programs and I am delighted that they will be supporting us with their highly reliable Falcon 9 rocket to deploy the Telesat Lightspeed constellation, the most ambitious program in Telesat’s 54-year history,” stated Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO.

“Given the dedication and professionalism of the SpaceX team, and their outstanding track record of reliability and demonstrated high launch cadence, I have the utmost confidence that they will be an outstanding partner in helping us bring Telesat Lightspeed into service in a timely and low risk manner,” added Goldberg.

“With growing demand for high-speed internet around the world, SpaceX is proud to launch and deploy Telesat’s Lightspeed constellation” said SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. “Building upon our successful launch partnership to-date, we look forward to flying Telesat once again as they expand connectivity capabilities for their customers across the globe.”

Telesat has an investment from the government of Canada and its offering will be in direct competition to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service. However, Telesat’s service will be provided to resellers, to then sell to customers, unlike Starlink’s direct to customer model.