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MDA selected for major role on Telesat Lightspeed

(18 February 2021 - MDA) MDA announced today that it has been selected to provide one of the critical technology subsystems on Telesat Lightspeed, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network recently unveiled by Telesat, one of the world’s largest satellite operators.

With advanced antenna design and manufacturing capabilities at its modern facility in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, this job-creating project enjoys the support of the Government of Quebec through a financial contribution.

MDA will develop the Direct Radiating Array (DRA), a revolutionary phased array, electronically-steered multi-beam antenna that will provide unlimited coverage flexibility and agility through advanced beam-forming technology. This configuration will achieve any-beam, anytime, anywhere coverage over the entire visible Earth. This new technology represents a major and key investment for the success of MDA's Satellite Systems business, as it is expected that most LEO, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellite markets will migrate to these technologies in the future. MDA will deliver over 1000 units. MDA is also in advanced discussions with Thales Alenia Space for the Lightspeed satellites’ final assembly and manufacturing in Québec.

The scope of MDA’s work on this project is expected to involve an investment of over $200 million by MDA, and create approximately 280 jobs over a period of five years, while sustaining MDA’s overall highly-experienced and specialized Quebec-based engineering workforce. With the development of next generation satellite technologies, MDA expects significant growth in its Montreal-based Satellite Systems business. To support this strong economic activity, Investissement Québec will provide a loan of $50 million.

With the transformation and growth in the satellite broadband market, MDA is unlocking new business models with next-generation technology, quality, performance and agility for less than the cost of traditional solutions, paving the way for more affordable software-defined satellites of the future. This will be achieved through integrating additive manufacturing techniques with very large-scale electronics through automated assembly at MDA’s high-volume smart manufacturing facility.

For more than 60 years on over 350 missions, MDA’s satellite payloads, antennas and electronics have enabled fixed, high-throughput and mobile communications systems. MDA has provided thousands of low-cost steerable antennas for satellite constellations since the inception of the non-GEO satellite market. MDA also provides communications solutions for human and robotic exploration missions, navigation and search-and-rescue space systems, remote sensing downlink, telemetry and telecommand systems, and intersatellite communications. MDA is the industry’s largest independent equipment supplier, with Industry 4.0 smart factory digital and high-volume production capabilities that link automation, data exchange, real-time communications, and the Internet of Things to empower better processes, smarter decision-making and improved quality standards.

"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. 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." Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer, MDA

About MDA

Serving the world from its Canadian home and global offices, MDA is an international space mission partner and a robotics, satellite systems and geointelligence pioneer with a 50-year story of firsts on and above the Earth. With over 2,000 employees across Canada, the US and the UK, MDA is leading the charge towards viable Moon colonies, enhanced Earth observation, communication in a hyper-connected world, and more. With a track record of making space ambitions come true, MDA enables highly skilled people to continually push boundaries, tackle big challenges, and imagine solutions that inspire and endure to change the world for the better, on the ground and in the stars.