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Russell 2000 Component
PredecessorsTelesat Canada, Loral Skynet, AT&T Skynet
FoundedMay 2, 1969
HeadquartersOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Daniel S. Goldberg
Productssatellite communications and integration services
ParentLoral Space (majority share)

Telesat, formerly Telesat Canada, is a Canadian satellite communications company founded on May 2, 1969. The company is headquartered in Ottawa.


Telesat began in 1969 as Telesat Canada, a Canadian Crown corporation created by an Act of Parliament.[1] Telesat Canada launched Anik A1 in 1972 as the world's first domestic communications satellite in geostationary orbit operated by a commercial company;[2] this satellite was retired from use in 1981.[citation needed] Until February 1979, Telesat had a legal monopoly on Earth stations in Canada: any entity wishing to send or receive satellite signals had to sign a long-term lease with Telesat Canada for an Earth station.[citation needed] Contracts for such leases were still enforced after the monopoly was ended.[citation needed]

Telesat Canada was privatized and sold by the federal government to Bell Canada in 1998.[3]

On December 18, 2006, Loral Space & Communications announced that it, along with Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), would acquire Telesat for US$2.8 billion.[4] On October 5, 2007, they received the final regulatory approval necessary to complete the acquisition of Telesat from BCE Inc. (the new holding company for Bell) for CAD$3.25 billion. The acquisition closed on October 31, 2007, with Loral owning 63% of Telesat.[5]

At the same time, Telesat merged with Loral Skynet (formerly AT&T Skynet), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications. Loral Skynet was a full-service global satellite operator headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey. This resulted in the transfer of all of the assets of Loral Skynet to Telesat.

Telesat announced on December 30, 2009, that Nimiq 6 was built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L). Bell Satellite TV, a Canadian satellite TV provider agreed to fully lease the satellite for its lifetime to serve their subscribers across Canada. Nimiq 6 has a payload of 32 high-powered Ku-band transponders. It uses the SS/L1300 platform and has a 15-year mission life. It was launched in 2012 by International Launch Services (ILS).[6]

On November 17, 2010: Telesat Holdings Inc. hired JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG to start a formal sales process and offer so-called staple financing to interest buyers for $6 billion to $7 billion.[7]

MHI Launch Services (formerly H-IIA Launch Services) [8]) launched Telstar 12 VANTAGE for Telesat in November 2015 on a H2A204 variant of the H-IIA rocket,[9] and it commenced service in December 2015.[10]

Lightspeed LEO constellation[edit]

In 2016 Telesat announced it would launch a low-Earth-orbit (LEO) constellation of 120 satellites, in polar orbit and in inclined orbits, about 1,000 km (620 mi) in altitude. The satellites would use the Ka-band, across 6 orbital planes, having at least 12 satellites in each plane. The siting of the orbital planes is to comply with the Canadian government's Enhanced Satellite Constellation Project, as well as providing global coverage.[11][12] The constellation is officially named Telesat Lightspeed.[13]

In 2017, Telesat expanded the LEO constellation plan to about 300 satellites, coupled with 50 ground stations across the globe. There would be about 80 polar orbit satellites, with the remainder in inclined orbits, for global coverage, including polar regions. The internet satellite constellation is targeted to have a 30-50 ms latency. The satellites are expected to be around 800 kg (1,800 lb) and last 10 years on orbit. The constellation is expected to have a 16-24 Tb/s capacity with 8 Tbit/s (1 TB/s) available for customers.[14]

In 2018, the Phase 1 pathfinder test satellite for the LEO constellation was launched. Various customers and satellite transceiver equipment manufacturers started testing with the satellite.[15][16][17]

In 2019, Telesat contracted with Blue Origin on their New Glenn rocket and Relativity Space with their Terran 1 rocket, for satellite launches to their LEO constellation.[14]

In 2020, Telesat filed plans for expanding the satellite count to its LEO constellation to over 1600 satellites.[12][18] In November 2020, Telesat announced that it will become a publicly traded on the American stock index NASDAQ in mid 2021.[19]

In Sept 2023, Telesat announced a new contract with SpaceX to launch 18 new satellites for the Lightspeed constellation, over the course of 14 launches starting in 2026.[20]


The company is the fourth-largest fixed satellite services provider in the world.[21][22] It owns a fleet of satellites, with others under construction, and operates additional satellites for other entities.

Telesat carries Canada's two major DBS providers signals: Bell Satellite TV and Shaw Direct, as well as more than 200 of Canada's television channels.

Telesat's Anik F2 carries a Ka-band spot beam payload for satellite Internet access for Wildblue users in the United States and Xplornet users in Canada.[23][24] The KA band system uses spot beams to manage bandwidth concerns, linking to multiple satellite ground stations connected to the Internet.


City Country Region
Ottawa, Ontario Canada Worldwide [25]
Allan Park, Ontario Canada Canada
Calgary, Alberta Canada Canada
Montreal, Quebec Canada Canada
Toronto, Ontario Canada Canada
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada Canada
North Bethesda, Maryland United States United States
(Sale Representative)
Bedminster, New Jersey United States United States
London, England United Kingdom Europe, Middle East and Africa
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Brazil Latin America
Singapore Singapore Asia
Mount Jackson, Virginia United States North America

Satellites launched for Telesat[edit]

  • Anik A1 – 1972
  • Anik A2 – 1973
  • Anik A3 – 1975
  • Anik B – 1978
  • Anik D1 – 1982 – decommissioned 1991
  • Anik C3 – 1982
  • Anik C2 – 1983 – sold to Paracom S.A. 1993
  • Anik D2 – 1984 – sold to GE Americom 1991 and ARABSAT 1993
  • Anik C1 – 1985 – sold to Paracom S.A. 1993 and decommissioned 2003
  • Anik E2 – 1991
  • Anik E1 – 1991
  • MSAT-1 – 1996
  • Nimiq-1 – 1999
  • Anik F1 – 2000
  • Nimiq-2 – 2002
  • Estrela do Sul 1 (Telstar 14) – 2004
  • Anik F2 – 2004
  • Anik F1R – 2005
  • Anik F3 – 2007
  • Telstar 11N – entered service on 31 March 2009 [1]
  • Nimiq-4 – 2008
  • Nimiq-5 – 2009
  • Telstar 14R (Estrela do Sul 2) – 2011 – North solar array did not fully deploy.[2]
  • Nimiq-6 – 2012
  • Telstar 12V – 2015
  • Telesat LEO 1 – 2018
  • Telstar 19V – 2018
  • Telstar 18V – 2018


  1. ^ Babe, Robert E. "CONTROL OF TELEPHONES: THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE". Canadian Journal of Communication. 13 (2).
  2. ^ "Telesat celebrates 30 years in space". The Globe And Mail. 8 November 2002.
  3. ^ "Canadian Satellite Television". Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Loral and PSP Investments agree to acquire Telesat Canada" (Press release). Loral Space & Communications. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  5. ^ Sherman, Alex (November 24, 2014). "Teachers', PSP nearing $7-billion Telesat deal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  6. ^ "ILS Wins Nimiq 6 Launch". Satellite Today. 18 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Top Stories: Business and Finance". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  8. ^ Launch of KAGUYA / H-IIA F13
  9. ^ "Telesat orders high throughput satellite to replace Telstar 12 and expand capacity at 15° West" (Press release). Telesat. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Telesat's new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite now operational three weeks after launch" (PDF) (Press release). Telesat. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  11. ^ Peter B. de Selding (17 November 2016). "Telesat prepares shareholder payday, outlines 117-satellite constellation". SpaceNews.
  12. ^ a b "Telesat ups LEO plans". Advanced Television. 29 May 2020.
  13. ^ "LEO Satellite | Telesat Lightspeed". Telesat. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  14. ^ a b Caleb Henry (1 May 2020). "Telesat preparing for mid-2020 constellation manufacturer selection". SpaceNews.
  15. ^ Doug Mohney (6 March 2020). "Canadian first responders test Telesat LEO". Space IT Bridge.
  16. ^ "Live Testing with Telesat's LEO Satellite Confirms Advantages of New C-COM Transportable Antenna System". Newsfile. 4 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Telefónica Puts Telesat's Phase 1 LEO Satellite to the Test". Global Newswire. 4 June 2020.
  18. ^ Rachel Jewett (23 July 2020). "8 Takeaways From Our SpaceX, Telesat LEO Constellation Webcast". Via Satellite. Satellite Today.
  19. ^ "Telesat to Become Public Company through Agreement with Loral Space & Communications and PSP Investments – Telesat". Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  20. ^ Telestat, SpaceX announce agreement to launch satellites
  21. ^ Kim, Soyoung; Roumeliotis, Greg; Damouni, Nadia (2014-01-22). "Exclusive: Telesat owner Loral explores sale-sources". Reuters.
  22. ^ Kirby, Jason (2022-05-25). "Telesat is in race to deliver high-speed satellite internet, but it's going up against two of the world's richest men". The Globe and Mail.
  23. ^ "WildBlue: How it works". Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  24. ^ "Pricing Announced for New Xplornet Ka-band Satellite Service" (Press release). Xplornet. 2005-04-19. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  25. ^ "Regional Offices". Telesat. Retrieved 31 December 2017.

External links[edit]