Alenia Spazio, Lockheed Martin Make Teledesic’s shortlist
Teledesic, one of the satellite broadband ventures of cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, has announced that it has narrowed the choice of its prime satellite construction contractor to Alenia Spazio of Italy and Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems of the United States.
Teledesic said it plans to select one of those companies as the prime contractor for its ambitious non-geostationary satellite system and finalise the contract this fall. Alenia Spazio is part of the Finmeccanica Group, one of Italy’s major industrial conglomerates; Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp.
“We looked at all the major domestic and international satellite manufacturers,” and narrowed it down to these two, Roger Nyhus, a spokesman for Teledesic said.
He also said it will be up to the prime contractor to decide on the final design of the Teledesic system and the number of satellites to be launched. That number will be “significantly fewer” than the 288 satellites originally planned, making the system much less expensive, he added..
Boeing Co.’s $100 million equity investment in Teledesic didn’t give it a preferred position in the competition for prime contractor. “We worked with Boeing but ultimately decided … [not to pick Boeing] as a prime contractor,” Nyhus said.