Telesat buys SpaceX launches for Lightspeed internet satellites

A representation of Telesat’s broadband constellation in low Earth orbit.


PARIS — Competitors or not, SpaceX remains poised to launch for other satellite internet companies.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has signed a major deal with satellite operator Telesat, the companies announced Monday. The agreement covers 14 launches of the Canadian company’s Lightspeed Internet satellites.

Telesat will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with missions beginning in 2026. Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg called Falcon 9 a “great value.”

“It’s affordable, it’s reliable… they can launch multiple satellites a week. It’s phenomenal,” Goldberg told CNBC.

SpaceX has used its rockets to launch communications satellites for companies that directly or indirectly compete with its Starlink global internet network. Current examples include satellites for OneWeb, ViasatAnd EchoStar. These offers come as Amazon The shareholder claims the company rejected SpaceX over launch contracts for the tech giant’s Kuiper internet satellites.

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Financial terms of Telesat’s deal with SpaceX were not disclosed. SpaceX is advertising Falcon 9 launches for $67 million each, which would make buying Telesat at that price about $900 million.

The purchase of Telesat is a response to the need to get into orbit quickly and reliably. Despite Telesat’s 2019 agreement with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to deploy its New Glenn rocket, delays in New Glenn’s development mean that the rocket has not yet launched for the first time.

Goldberg told CNBC on Monday that the agreement with Blue Origin was still in effect. He cited confidentiality agreements so he can’t disclose the number of New Glenn launches Telesat has planned, but noted that Blue Origin is giving his company future “optionality” and believes New Glenn “will be a great launch over time.” will be”. Starting vehicle.”

Goldberg previously emphasized to CNBC that Lightspeed is not intended to compete with SpaceX’s Starlink or Amazon’s Kuiper in direct-to-consumer markets. Instead, Telesat will maintain its existing focus on enterprise customers – albeit on government and commercial markets where Starlink expanded last year.

Earlier this summer, Telesat announced a change in the manufacturer of its Lightspeed satellites, with Canadian space company MDA replacing French-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space. The deal will save Telesat about $2 billion on the launch of its network of 198 satellites.

“It was a home run,” Goldberg said Monday of the MDA contract. Telesat buys SpaceX launches for Lightspeed internet satellites

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