Thales Alenia Space selected by Telesat to build its Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
broadband 298-satellite constellation Lightspeed offering high performing
broadband professional services around the globe
With this historical contract, Thales Alenia Space confirms its position as the
industrial benchmark in global satellite constellations offering the world's
most efficient services for mobile connectivity (maritime, in-flight),
backhauling of 4G and 5G communications, government networks and enterprise
Cannes, February 9, 2021 - Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales
(Euronext Paris: HO) (67%) and Leonardo (Milan stock exchange: LDO) (33%), has
signed an agreement with leading global satellite operator Telesat to be the
prime contractor on the construction of Lightspeed, its advanced LEO network, a
multi-billion dollar project initially comprised of a fleet of 298
This agreement has been signed in the presence of Bruno Le Maire, Minister of
the Economy, Finance and Recovery of France.
Following the intense work done on Lightspeed's innovative design, this
selection represents a major step in the deployment of the project, as Telesat
and Thales Alenia Space significantly increase the momentum of activities in
parallel with the finalization of the Lightspeed project's financial close.
Telesat will rely on Thales Alenia Space not only to provide the space and
mission segments, but also to be responsible for the end-to-end network
performance and related specifications of the system.
Lightspeed's space segment will initially be comprised of 298 satellites, in
the 700-750 kg class. The network will deliver multiple terabits per second
across the globe for secure, low-latency, high-performing broadband
Lightspeed is based on an innovative architecture and next generation
technologies, providing a very high level of flexibility in capacity
allocation. The constellation is built on a unique combination of advanced on-
board satellite equipment - sophisticated active antennas that can dynamically
refocus beams a thousand times per second, powerful and flexible processors
able to address a range of bandwidth, optical laser links between satellites to
create a true global mesh coverage of the world - and a mix of on-board and on-
ground software ensuring the optimal use of the system resources. The
flexibility brought by this system is the key to true competitiveness as it
optimizes sellable capacity in relation to the location of demand, which can
vary significantly across time and between hot spots such as airports and
low-density areas such as remote communities. The optical laser link
interconnections between the constellation satellites will provide global, mesh
coverage around the world, including above the oceans and poles, with a high
level of security for end-to-end services. It will optimize the ground segment
with a lower number of gateway sites, more freedom on gateway locations, and
the ability to deploy gateways in line with the loading of the system.
The first satellites are expected to be ready for launch in two years.
"I want to warmly thank Telesat for putting its trust in our company, and we
are proud to have been selected after successfully going through a very
demanding competitive process," said Hervé Derrey,
President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Thales Alenia Space is mastering
end-to-end flight proven systems, digitalization of payloads, inter-satellite
links, management of international organization as well as industrial
capabilities dedicated to constellations, and we are honored to capitalize on
all this expertise to serve this major program".
"With our design and engineering work complete, we're excited to move forward
with Thales Alenia Space as our Prime Contractor to manufacture Lightspeed, the
world's most advanced and capable LEO network, stated Dan Goldberg, President
and CEO of Telesat. "Thales Alenia Space has an impressive track record and
proven success in delivering innovative satellite constellations. We are
grateful for the excellent work they have done to date on our project and look
forward to working closely together to transform and redefine space-based
communications with the Lightspeed network."
"Telesat's Lightspeed constellation will be at the highest level of global
space connectivity. I am happy with the selection of Thales Alenia Space as
industrial prime contractor for this ambitious project supported by a strong
partnership between France and Canada. This selection also illustrates the
excellence of the French and European space industry," said Bruno Le Maire,
Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery of France.
Franck Riester, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic
Attractiveness, is pleased with this major contract, which strengthens ties
between France, Europe and Canada in the space sector: "In France, for the next
5 years, this contract will mobilize Thales Alenia Space, which I visited last
January, as well as a large number of French companies. This reflects the
quality of our industrial and technological know-how."
In connection with the agreement Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio made a
capacity commitment on Lightspeed.
With GlobalStar 2, O3B and Iridium NEXT, Thales Alenia Space has developed all
of the Low and Medium Earth Orbit telecommunications constellations in full
operational service today. The company has leveraged on this long-standing
experience to address additional new markets such as high revisit earth
observation, the surveillance of space from space, space debris tracking and
the Internet of Things.
ABOUT THALES ALENIA SPACE
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills,
expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost- effective solutions
for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental
management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and
private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based
systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our
planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and
beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a
better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales
(Euronext Paris : HO) (67%) and Leonardo (Milan stock exchange: LDO) (33%),
Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies'
Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space
posted consolidated revenues of approximately 2.15 billion euros in 2019 and
has around 7,700 employees in nine countries.