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Telesat Lightspeed to Receive $400 Million Investment from the Government of Québec

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  • The Lightspeed program is expected to bring $1.8 billion of investment into the Québec aerospace sector, creating 600 new highly-skilled, high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth.
  • Telesat selects Canada’s MDA to deliver the state-of-the-art phased array antennas for Lightspeed satellites.
  • Telesat’s prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, will establish the Lightspeed satellites’ final assembly and manufacturing in Québec and is in discussions with Québec-based partners.

MONTRÉAL, CANADA, February 18, 2021 – Telesat, one of the world’s largest satellite operators, announced today that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Québec for an investment of $400 million into Telesat Lightspeed, Telesat’s highly advanced Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. Telesat will invest $1.6 billion into Québec, both directly and through its supply chain, which will include a significant portion of Lightspeed manufacturing and operations. The Lightspeed program will create 600 high-paying STEM jobs, leverage Québec’s substantial aerospace expertise and infrastructure, and allow the province to harness the significant economic growth from the burgeoning New Space Economy.

Lightspeed, the most innovative, cutting-edge broadband satellite network ever conceived, will bridge the Digital Divide both in Canada and throughout the rest of the world. All $ amounts referenced in this release are in Canadian dollars.

Agreement with the Government of Québec

Under the terms of the MOU, the investment by the Government of Québec will consist of $200 million in preferred equity as well as a $200 million loan. It is expected that a final agreement will be completed in the coming months. This collaboration comes on the heels of Telesat’s selection of Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor for Lightspeed and its recently completed $600 million partnership with the Government of Canada to affordably bridge Canada’s digital divide through Telesat Lightspeed.

Telesat Lightspeed operations to be located in Québec

As a result of this agreement and given Québec’s world-class expertise and competencies in the aerospace sector, Québec will be a key partner for the manufacturing and operations of Lightspeed. Specifically, the province will be home to a large Telesat campus that will house a broad range of Lightspeed technical operations, including the Network Operating Centre, a Satellite Control Centre, the Cybersecurity Operations Centre, the Engineering Lab and an advanced Landing Station providing secure, high-capacity communication links to the Lightspeed constellation. This new campus will host approximately 320 new, highly skilled Telesat jobs, largely in STEM.

Telesat selects MDA to manufacture sophisticated phased array antennas in Québec

In light of their world-class expertise, Telesat has selected leading Canadian space technology company MDA to manufacture the cutting-edge phased array antennas to be incorporated into the Lightspeed satellites. In manufacturing these revolutionary antennas, MDA will leverage 3D additive manufacturing and will incorporate advanced beam hopping technology that will allow the Lightspeed constellation to dynamically and flexibly focus high capacity broadband links into rural and remote communities and other demand hot spots around the world.

Lightspeed satellite manufacturing in Québec, positioning the province to be a global leader in the New Space Economy 

Telesat’s prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, will establish the final manufacturing of the advanced Lightspeed satellites at an assembly, integration and testing facility in Québec and, in this regard, is in discussions with Québec-based partners. This state-of-the-art facility will leverage next-generation manufacturing capabilities to deliver on average one Lightspeed satellite per day. Lightspeed satellites are the most advanced LEO broadband satellites ever conceived, incorporating a wide range of cutting-edge, disruptive technologies.

“Telesat welcomes and appreciates the strong support and participation of the Government of Québec as we embark on Lightspeed, the most ambitious and consequential program in our more than 50-year history,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “The vast aerospace expertise resident in Québec, coupled with the Government’s leadership and vision for the fast-growing New Space Economy, provides an overwhelmingly compelling rationale for Telesat to make substantial investments in the province, including the manufacture of the Lightspeed satellites and the establishment of our extensive technical operations. We deeply value the world-class talent and capabilities in Québec and we are excited to welcome that talent into the Telesat family.”

“Today’s news is extraordinary, both for Québec’s aerospace sector and for Québec as a whole. The preservation of 650 jobs and the creation of a further 600 jobs at about $100,000 a year is an example of how Québec will bridge the wealth gap with neighbouring jurisdictions. I am in politics to achieve this goal. The pandemic will have an ongoing impact on aircraft construction, and this is the ideal time to accelerate the pace of satellite development, a new and promising field for the aerospace industry. Your government will continue to invest to create better-paid jobs in Québec, to build a more prosperous Québec, and ensure a prouder Québec!”

  • François Legault, Premier of Québec

“The Telesat project will raise the international profile of Québec engineering and our space industry. It gives us a key position in the new, private-sector space race. This investment will boost our aerospace industry, which has suffered over the last year. Québec is already a leader in the field, but with today’s announcement, we show that we will do what it takes to remain a leader into the future.”

  • Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation

“We are very proud to be selected for this critical role on Telesat Lightspeed, which will enable us to expand our presence in Québec and create highly-skilled, high-paying jobs while engaging with our local supply chain on this ground-breaking program.  With this key role in developing next-generation antenna technology, combined with our advanced manufacturing capabilities, we anticipate major growth in our Montreal-based Satellite Systems business. We would like to thank Telesat for its confidence in MDA, and the Government of Québec for its financial support.”

  • Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer, MDA

To learn more about Lightspeed, visit

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