SpaceX struck a deal with Telesat satellite company on Monday to launch the Telesat Lightspeed constellation into Low Earth Orbit. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will make 14 launches starting in 2026, delivering 18 Telesat Lightspeed satellites each time, according to the satellite company. Telesat aims to begin providing satellite internet service with gig speeds globally by late 2027.
The Telesat Lightspeed constellation will provide multi-Gbps data link with highly secure, resilient, low-latency broadband connectivity anywhere in the world, according to the company’s release. With the ever-growing demand for accessible and reliable high-speed internet, Telesat’s plan further heats up competition, even though the company said Lightspeed is designed for enterprise connectivity rather than direct-to-consumer.
“SpaceX has been a trusted and effective launch provider to Telesat on our geostationary satellite programs and I am delighted that they will be supporting us with their highly reliable Falcon 9 rocket to deploy the Telesat Lightspeed constellation, the most ambitious program in Telesat’s 54-year history,” Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO said in a statement. “Given the dedication and professionalism of the SpaceX team, and their outstanding track record of reliability and demonstrated high launch cadence, I have the utmost confidence that they will be an outstanding partner in helping us bring Telesat Lightspeed into service in a timely and low risk manner.”
While SpaceX has its own internet network, Starlink, it’s still used its rockets to launch satellites for other companies whether they’re competition or not. SpaceX has launched satellite for companies like OneWeb, Viasat and EchoStar.
Telesat still has a 2019 agreement with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to use its New Glenn Rocket, but launch has yet to happen.
Telesat’s deal with SpaceX comes on the heels of investors filing a lawsuit against Amazon. The Cleveland Bakers and Teamster’s Pension Fund alleged that Amazon didn’t properly field competing proposals before choosing Blue Origin to launch satellites for its own new home internet service, code-named Project Kuiper. In addition to Bezos’ potential conflict of interest as founder of both Amazon and Blue Origin, the suit said that SpaceX wasn’t considered despite “being the launch provider with the most proven track record and the lowest prices in the industry” because of the rivalry between Bezos and Elon Musk, the spaceflight company’s founder.