MDA Selected as Prime Satellite Contractor for Telesat Lightspeed Advanced Constellation
$2.1B contract for 198 satellites is the largest award in MDA’s history
August 11, 2023 (Brampton, Ontario) – MDA Ltd. (TSX:MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, today announced it has been selected as the prime contractor for Telesat’s (NASDAQ and TSX: TSAT) revolutionary Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation Telesat Lightspeed, an innovative global network that will bring enhanced digital connectivity to Canadians and customers worldwide. Valued at approximately $2.1 billion, the contract is the largest in MDA’s history and includes the design, manufacture, assembly and test of 198 satellites with options for Telesat to purchase up to 100 additional satellites.
Telesat Lightspeed is the second prime satellite contract for a LEO constellation awarded to MDA in the past eighteen months. These major wins demonstrate tangible results from our multi-year strategy and investments to capitalize on the growing global market demand for satellite services for communications and other applications.
“We’re pleased to partner with Telesat to use the combined world-leading talent and technology of our teams to bring the Telesat Lightspeed mission to life,” said Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA. “Our ability to leverage MDA’s strategic investments in our new digital satellite product portfolio and advanced manufacturing capability to deliver significant cost and schedule benefits to Telesat Lightspeed is another tangible example of how we are strengthening and securing MDA’s position at the heart of the rapidly growing global LEO constellation and satellite systems market.”
The Telesat Lightspeed satellites will be built, assembled and tested at MDA’s state-of-the-art high volume satellite manufacturing facilities in Montreal. Our production lines leverage Industry 5.0 techniques including AI, automation, cobots, augmented reality and highly-skilled assemblers to meet the accelerated rates required for high volume non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite systems. With this contract, Telesat becomes the anchor customer for MDA’s new software-defined digital satellite product line.
“We are excited to be moving forward on the Telesat Lightspeed program with MDA in an expanded role that enables us to leverage MDA’s innovative and advanced digital satellite products and real-world experience as a satellite prime for LEO programs,” said Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat. “MDA’s next-generation on-board processor and direct radiating array antennas with digital beamforming roughly triples the number of beams per satellite. This will enable us to achieve significant cost improvements and network efficiency, including better link performance and greater flexibility in geographic coverage. With program funding now in place and MDA selected as the satellite prime contractor, we look forward to making Telesat Lightspeed a reality and delivering unparalleled high capacity, secure, resilient and affordable broadband connectivity everywhere in the world.”
“As a global leader in the new space economy, Canada is proud to see two domestic champions join forces on this flagship Canadian program to create high-skilled jobs and support cutting-edge innovation in the telecom industry, helping unlock economic and social opportunities in Canada’s rural and remote communities,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Canada remains a strong supporter of Telesat Lightspeed and will continue to help solve some of the most pressing challenges we face here on Earth, from bridging the digital divide, to health, climate change, national security, and more.”
To support increasing customer demand as the industry transitions from analog to digital satellite technologies, MDA is bringing to market a new software-defined digital satellite product line, providing critical new solutions to satellite operators and prime manufacturers. The fully integrated portfolio includes a complete range of modular digital products and components for space-based communication solutions coupled with advanced high-volume manufacturing capable of producing two satellites a day, dramatically reducing production costs and schedule. MDA will introduce its new software-defined digital satellite product line during World Satellite Business Week in September.
The Telesat Lightspeed contract will be added to MDA’s backlog in the third quarter of fiscal 2023.