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MDA Selects Tesat Optical Terminals for Telesat Lightspeed 

By Rachel Jewett | May 28, 2024

The Tesat SCOT80 optical communications terminal. Photo: Tesat

MDA Space selected Tesat to provide the optical communication terminals (OCT) for Telesat’s Lightspeed Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation. 

Tesat announced Tuesday that MDA Space selected its SCOT80 optical communications terminal (OCT) for the company’s Aurora software-defined product line, including its anchor customer, Lightspeed. MDA Space placed an order for 792 terminals. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The SCOT80 terminals are designed for LEO constellations. They are designed to transmit bidirectional data at 10 Gbps up to 8,000 km. The mass is 11.9 kg per optical channel.  

Tesat is based in Germany and the terminals will be manufactured on a specific line in Tesat’s new high-volume production facility in Backnang, Germany. 

“This program will result in the next level of advanced broadband networks. We have been preparing for this kind of constellation orders by investing continuously in R&D to keep our pole position in optical communications technology, already proven by in-orbit applications with more than 86,000 successful links, and by investing in our new production facility in Backnang for serial production of OCTs. The trust that MDA Space puts again in us now proves that we are well on track,” said Thomas Reinartz, CEO of Tesat. 

Tesat did not specify when deliveries will start, but Telesat is targeting Lightspeed launches to start in mid-2026, with services scheduled to begin in late 2027.