Design Engineering

MDA selected to supply satellite antennas for Telesat Lightspeed

By DE Staff   

Additive Manufacturing Aerospace

Space engineering firm to combine 3D printing with automated assembly at Quebec facility.

Telesat Lightspeed satellite (Photo credit: Telesat)

MDA announced it has been selected by satellite operator, Telesat, to develop a multi-beam antenna array for Telesat Lightspeed, a broadband network composed of 298 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
Specifically, the Canadian aerospace engineering firm has been contracted to deliver 1,000 units of the Direct Radiating Array (DRA), a phased array, electronically-steered multi-beam antenna.

According to the company, its beam hopping technology will be able to create approximately 135,000 beams per satellite that can dynamically focus multiple Gbps of capacity into high demand locations such as remote communities, large airports or major sea ports.

MDA says it will investment more than $200 million in the project, which will create approximately 280 jobs over a period of five years, supplemented by a $50 million loan from Investissement Québec to support economic activity and the specialized engineering workforce in the province.

Although best known for its space robotics, the company says it has provided thousands of steerable antennas for satellite constellations since the inception of the non-GEO satellite market. For this project, however, the company says it will integrate additive manufacturing techniques with very large-scale electronics through automated assembly at its high-volume smart manufacturing facility. MDA says it is also in advanced discussions with Thales Alenia Space for the Lightspeed satellites’ final assembly and manufacturing in Québec.


“We are very proud to be selected for this critical role on Telesat Lightspeed, and for the opportunity to deepen our world-class expertise in non-GEO satellite constellations as the sector undergoes a transformation, MDA CEO, Mike Greenley. “Through developing this next generation antenna technology and expanding our high volume satellite manufacturing, we anticipate major growth in our Montreal-based Satellite Systems business and in our high-tech workforce while engaging our local supply chain. We would like to thank Telesat for its confidence in MDA, and the Government of Quebec for its financial support.”


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