Canadian company Telesat is racing to launch a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites (LEO) to provide high-speed Internet from space.
The race pits the satellite communications company founded in 1969 against two leading billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Tesla CEO Musk, who was only a year old when Telesat launched its first satellite, puts LEO satellites on Starlink with his company, SpaceX.
Amazon, founded by Bezos, is planning a similar project to a LEO satellite called Project Kuiper.
Despite the competition, Dan Goldberg, CEO of Telesat, expressed confidence when he said of the Telesat group of LEO satellites: It represents a sustainable competitive advantage in global broadband delivery.
Telesat satellites with low Earth orbit LEO have a much lower price than SpaceX and Amazon, and the company has been in the business of satellite services for decades.
In addition, the company is looking for affluent commercial clients rather than focusing on the consumer market, such as: SpaceX and Amazon.
Goldberg struggled six years ago when he realized the company’s business model was in jeopardy as Netflix and video-streaming services took off, and optical fibers ensured a fast internet connection.
Telesat’s 15 geostationary satellites mainly provide services to television stations, Internet service providers and government networks.
These customers are increasingly concerned about the latency, or time delay, of bouncing signals from satellites orbiting altitudes of more than 35,000 km above Earth.
The constellation of Telesat’s LEO is called Lightspeed, Orbit at altitudes about 35 times lower than geostationary satellites, GEO, and provide an Internet connection at a speed comparable to optical fibers.
Telesat plans to first launch these satellites in early 2023, while about 1,200 MASK’s Starlink satellites are in orbit.
According to Goldberg, Starlink has an edge of 24 months at the most, but no company will fully capture this market in that time period.
Telesat aims to launch the first batch of 298 satellites to be built by Thales Alenia Space in early 2023, with partial service in high latitudes later in the same year, and full global service in 2024.
The Lightspeed group is estimated to cost half the $ 10 billion SpaceX and Amazon projects.