Monday, September 18, 2017

Telesat Now Planning 290 Satellite Constellation

          By Henry Stewart

Ottawa, ON based Telesat has confirmed that its proposed 117 satellite low Earth obit (LEO) constellation has now grown to approximately 290 satellites.

Artist’s rendition of a small satellite in LEO. Photo: SSTL

As outlined in the September 13th, 2017 Advanced Television post, "Canada’s Telesat planning 290 satellites," Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg made the announcement to delegates at the recently concluded 2017 Euroconsult World Satellite Business Week, which was held in Paris, France from September 11th - 15th.

Goldberg also told delegates that, under proposed new FCC regulations, Telesat was obliged to launch half of the new fleet, about 140 craft, within six years. The balance, once the second batch of 140 had been launched, would be in-orbit spares/replacements.

As outlined in the November 20th, 2016 post, "SpaceX, Telesat & Kepler Just Three of the Dozen Satellite Constellations Currently on the FCC Table," Telesat had initially proposed a much smaller fleet.

Telesat CEO Goldberg. Photo c/o SpaceNews/ Kate Patterson.
However, and as first reported in the September 11th, 2017 post, "New FCC Rules a Defeat for SpaceX, But May Signal Opportunity for OneWeb & Telesat," a series of proposed new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations may have given a competitive advantage to smaller satellite constellation proposals from firms such as Telesat, UK based OneWeb and others as they attempt to compete with Hawthorne, CA based SpaceX and its proposed 4000 plus army of super-fast internet satellites.

The new FCC rules were released for comment and feedback on September 7th and are expected to be approved at the next open FCC meeting on September 26th, 2017. Goldberg and others may be positioning themselves to take advantage of the new rules, once they take effect.

Telesat’s 1st prototype test LEO satellite is currently scheduled for launch in November on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket. A second LEO prototype is also scheduled for launch before the end of the year.

The satellites are built by UK based Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) and Palo Alto, CA based Space Systems/Loral (SSL).

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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