WASHINGTON — Telesat Canada will seemingly select the winner of a now three-way race to construct its low Earth orbit broadband constellation within the first few months of 2020 as an alternative of this yr, CEO Dan Goldberg stated Nov. 5.
Goldberg, in an earnings name, stated Telesat nonetheless anticipates having 200 satellites orbiting in 2022 and 300 satellites in 2023 regardless of taking longer than anticipated to decide on a producer.
Telesat had anticipated selecting between Airbus Defence and Area and a crew fashioned by Maxar Applied sciences and Thales Alenia Area by the tip of this yr. However that was earlier than Maxar Technologies and Thales Alenia Space split, opting to compete individually for a contract value an estimated $three billion.
Goldberg didn’t point out the breakup of the Maxar-Thales Alenia crew when acknowledging Telesat’s choice is now “most likely extra seemingly Q1 subsequent yr” as an alternative of in 2019.
Selecting the best orbit
Goldberg stated Telesat doesn’t view itself as locked into LEO, and can contemplate future satellites and their orbits on a case-by-case foundation. Roughly half of Telesat’s income comes from tv broadcasting, which wouldn’t profit from LEO, he stated.
A few of Telesat’s internet-connectivity clients may additionally favor geostationary orbit, since they have already got infrastructure that helps linking with the corporate’s present fleet of 16 geostationary satellites, Goldberg stated. That very same floor infrastructure helps C- and Ku-band frequencies, whereas Telesat LEO is being designed as a Ka-band system, which may add to a choice for GEO, he stated.
Telesat believes its LEO constellation will probably be a “very compelling answer” for its broadband connectivity clients, he stated, however he declined to estimate how lengthy it can take for them to shift from GEO to LEO.
“I feel that over time there will probably be a transition for enterprise clients from their present networks over to LEO. How lengthy that can take is just a little bit onerous to say at this cut-off date,” he stated.
Telesat can also be considering new polar satellite tv for pc communications system that the Canadian authorities is contemplating. Goldberg stated the Canadian authorities seems to have momentum round creating a system of polar-orbiting satellites in extremely inclined orbits that would offer X-band, ultra-high-frequency and military-grade Ka-band connectivity over the arctic.
Canada has studied numerous arctic communications techniques, such because the two satellite Polar Communication and Weather system, within the early 2010s, but hasn’t moved forward with one.
Goldberg stated the Canadian authorities has issued two requests for details about a brand new system referred to as Enhanced Satellite tv for pc Communications Polar. A request for proposals is anticipated quickly, he stated.
“We predict we and our companions are effectively positioned for it,” he stated.
Norway’s state-run firm Area Norway in July chosen Northrop Grumman to build two highly elliptical orbit satellites that the Norwegian army will use, together with the U.S. army and British industrial operator Inmarsat. Goldberg stated Canada is considering having worldwide companions on the Enhanced Satellite tv for pc Communications Polar system as effectively.
Telesat income up, however income down
Telesat reported 237 million Canadian dollars ($179.three million) in income for the months of July, August and September, up four% from the identical time final yr.
The corporate reported a web loss, nonetheless, of 123 million Canadian dollars, in distinction to a revenue of 117 million Canadian dollars for a similar quarter in 2018.
Telesat stated the $240 million swing was attributable to non-cash losses on monetary devices and the impression of foreign-exchange charges when translating its U.S. dollar-denominated debt into Canadian dollars.
Goldberg stated Shaw Direct, a Telesat buyer, additionally considerably lowered its Ku-band capability lease on the corporate’s Anik-F1R satellite tv for pc.
Shaw was utilizing the capability for tv broadcasting, however wanted much less after upgrading its floor infrastructure with higher sign compression know-how, Goldberg stated.
Anik-F1R has simply two to a few years of service left, primarily based on present operations, however may be prolonged by inclining the satellite tv for pc’s orbit so it wants much less gas for station protecting, Goldberg stated. Telesat is engaged on reselling the capability beforehand utilized by Shaw, he stated.
Goldberg stated Anik-F1R may nonetheless serve aviation and maritime clients in an inclined orbit, since these markets use monitoring antennas that may comply with the satellite tv for pc because it sways within the sky. The satellite tv for pc would now not be helpful for direct-to-home tv, since these antennas would lose its sign from an inclined orbit.