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Maxar evades the Telesat LEO constellation contract competition

Maxar Technologies is adamant about competing for Telesat’s upcoming multi-billion broadband 300 satellite spectrum project contracts. 

Maxar’s CEO Dan Jablonsky stated via a call that the acquisition decision for the Telesat LEO constellation is still uncertain. Initially, this decision was due in June 2019, but the current pandemic problem has made Maxar opt for other lucrative business opportunities. Jablonsky stated that Telesat has been postponing this decision resulting in them opting out of this conquest. 

Maxar was awarded the research contract by Telesat in 2018 to create a design for the broadband spectrum with Thales Alenia Space. However, the contract between Telesat and Thales Alenia Space, who later on partnered with Airbus Defence and Space for this contract, severed the Maxar Technologies – Telesat relationship. 

Jablonsky revealed Maxar’s determination to manufacture broadband communications satellites but will be keen on which contracts are favorable. He further connotes that Telesat has been Maxar’s customer, with the firm developing the GEO satellites for Telesat. Maxar will be ready to build more constellations for Telesat in the future, provided they offer certainty and make concise decisions. 

Telesat’s CEO Dan Goldberg stated that Telesat would be working with satellite manufacturers even as it prepares its ground sites for launch services. Goldberg said that they would make punitive decisions soon concerning their procurement and financing operations to enhance the resumption of activities in their facilities. 

Goldberg reveals some of their upcoming projects like onboard processing, antenna restructuring, and satellite interconnections to facilitate service delivery for ships, governments, and commercial businesses. Telesat anticipates its LEO constellation to be operational in the coming two years. The CEO was adamant about stating the number of contracts they will be awarding for completing this project, resulting in a consequent delay in the rollout of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Blackjack program. 

DARPA anticipates using Telesat’s 20 LEO satellites as Blackjack buses. DARPA’s deputy program manager for Blackjack, Stephen Forbes, stated in a SpaceNews virtual interview that the decision to choose Telesat for this program is rather financial-based instead of urgency. Stephen Forbes hopes that this decision would have been made last year to stimulate urgency. 

Telesat and Airbus Defence and Space won study contracts for the Blackjack spacecraft buses. Forbes is confident that the US Defense Department can use the Telesat LEO satellite bus for the Blackjack program despite the firm’s tentativeness. Forbes is confident that they can work around satellite-related problems hoping that the firm can make quick decisions. 

In conclusion, Jablonsky revealed the possibility of Maxar using the satellite bus is designed for the Telesat LEO Blackjack program in other constellations. Maxar is finally expanding its operations towards defense programs to obtain more revenue. This move will ensure the firm thrives in the space industry. 

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