Telesat buys SpaceX launches for Lightspeed internet satellites

A rendering of Telesat’s low earth orbit broadband constellation.


PARIS – Competitors or not, SpaceX continues to be keen to launch for different satellite tv for pc internet firms.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX signed a hefty take care of satellite tv for pc operator Telesat, the businesses introduced Monday. The settlement covers 14 launches of the Canadian enterprise’s Lightspeed internet satellites.

Telesat will make the most of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with missions starting in 2026. Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg heralded Falcon 9 as a “nice worth proposition.” 

“It’s reasonably priced, it is dependable … they will launch a number of satellites every week. It’s phenomenal,” Goldberg informed CNBC.

SpaceX has used its rockets to launch communications satellites for firms that compete immediately or not directly with its world Starlink internet community. Recent examples embrace satellites for OneWeb, Viasat, and EchoStar. These offers come as an Amazon shareholder alleges the company snubbed SpaceX for launch contracts of the tech giant’s Kuiper internet satellites.

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Financial phrases for Telesat’s take care of SpaceX weren’t disclosed. SpaceX advertises Falcon 9 launches for $67 million every, which might put Telesat’s buy round $900 million at that pricing.

Telesat’s buy comes as a solution to needing reliable rides to orbit in brief order. Despite Telesat’s 2019 agreement with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to make use of its New Glenn rocket, delays in New Glenn’s improvement imply that rocket has but to launch for the primary time.

Goldberg informed CNBC on Monday that the settlement with Blue Origin remains to be in place. He cited non-disclosure agreements for why he cannot disclose the variety of New Glenn launches that Telesat has lined up, however famous Blue Origin provides his firm future “optionality” and believes New Glenn will “within the fullness of time be an important launch car.”

Goldberg has previously emphasized to CNBC that Lightspeed will not be supposed to compete in direct-to-consumer markets towards SpaceX’s Starlink or Amazon’s Kuiper. Instead, it would keep Telesat’s present concentrate on enterprise prospects — authorities and industrial markets, nonetheless, that Starlink has expanded into over the previous yr.

Earlier this summer season Telesat introduced a swap in the manufacturer of its Lightspeed satellites, with Canadian area firm MDA taking the place of French-Italian producer Thales Alenia Space. That deal saves Telesat about $2 billion in launching its community of 198 satellites.

“It was a house run,” Goldberg mentioned Monday of the MDA contract.

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