top of page
  • Satellite Evolution Group

New MDA software-defined satellites target operator pain points with digital solutions

New MDA software-defined satellites target operator pain points with digital solutions

MDA revealed at the World Satellite Business Week conference initial details about its new software-defined digital satellite product line as the market continues to transform from analog to digital software-defined satellites.

“The satellite industry comes together at World Satellite Business Week to define the new technologies that will determine the next generation of global satellite connectivity and business, and that discussion has never been more dynamic than it is right now,” said Nathan de Ruiter, Managing Director of Euroconsult Canada. “We are at the very beginning of a long-term transition from analog to digital satellite technology that in the decade ahead will drive new business models, revenue streams and competitive advantages for operators, manufacturers, and commercial end-users alike. Companies like MDA who are making smart and strategic investments in new satellite innovation and infrastructure are at the forefront of that transition.”

The technology transition from analog to digital satellite solutions offers significant benefits to satellite operators looking to improve performance while at the same time driving time, cost and complexity out of their LEO constellation networks.

“As we considered next-generation technologies for Telesat Lightspeed we revisited MDA’s digital solution and it was a game changer. It is much more efficient than the analog solutions we had been considering previously, and capable of delivering roughly three times the number of beams,” said Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat. “MDA has continued to invest in their digital satellite technology, resulting in our ability to decrease our satellite bus size without compromising our service performance, resiliency or overall usable capacity in our network.”

Telesat has selected MDA as the prime satellite contractor for Telesat Lightspeed, the operator’s revolutionary LEO constellation. MDA is developing a fully integrated portfolio of modular digital products and components for space-based communication solutions, with Telesat as the anchor customer.

“Next generation satellite technology is the catalyst for industry transformation – from analog to digital, programs to products and one-offs to hundreds,” said Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA. “Our MDA Satellite Systems team is strategically focused on developing the digital satellite products and the advanced manufacturing capability and capacity to help lead that change with and for our customers.”

To support increasing customer demand as the industry transitions from analog to digital satellite technologies, MDA is bringing to market a new software-defined digital satellite product line, providing critical new solutions to satellite operators and prime manufacturers. The fully integrated portfolio includes a complete range of modular digital products and components for space-based communication solutions coupled with advanced high-volume manufacturing capable of producing two satellites a day – dramatically reducing production costs and schedule.

Key features of MDA’s software-defined satellite product portfolio include:

· A new class of standardized and modular software-defined satellites enabled by a suite of innovative digital payload technologies that meet multiple non-geostationary orbits and frequencies, with dynamic in-orbit reconfiguration, maximizing delivered capacity and quality of service to users with unprecedented power efficiency.

· A scalable regenerative on-board processor with a built-in software-defined packet router, optimizing communication routes within a constellation between user links, gateway links and optical inter-satellite links.

· A family of digital beamforming-enabled electronically-steered direct radiating arrays addressing multiple non-geostationary orbits and frequencies, with direct RF conversion and native beam hopping capability compliant to DVB standards.

· An innovative constellation software suite comprised of advanced onboard flight telecom software, a real-time digital payload simulator and a scalable constellation network manager.

· An efficient and modular digital payload solution designed for manufacturing to enable faster delivery at substantially reduced cost using MDA’s industry-leading Satellite Manufacturing 5.0 capabilities leveraging automated production lines and AI-enabled robots, cobots and high-skilled assemblers using augmented reality to accelerate mass production.

According to market research firm NSR (an Analysys Mason company), software-defined satellite (SDS) orders have seen a steady rise over the past couple of years. Driven by technological improvements offered by satellite manufacturers on new platforms using software that gives satellite operators control of mission planning, payload operations, and better capacity

management, SDS is narrowing the gap between satellite and terrestrial networks. NSR forecasts nearly 26,000 partially or fully flexible SDS satellites will be ordered over the next decade with the entire satellite manufacturing and launch industry working to accommodate the growing trend for high-volume production, lower costs, and standardized offerings.

For more information visit:


bottom of page