A rendering of a Telesat Lightspeed satellite based on MDA's new software-defined platform. Credit: Telesat

LONDON — Israeli satcoms equipment maker SatixFy announced plans Aug. 31 to sell its satellite payload subsidiary to MDA as part of a $60 million strategic transaction with the Canadian space hardware specialist.

MDA is spending $40 million to buy SatixFy Space Systems UK Ltd, a British developer of satellite payload systems and subsystems, including digital beam-forming antennas and onboard processors. 

The announcement comes weeks after MDA won a $1.6 billion contract to build 198 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for Telesat, a Canada-based operator of geostationary satellites.

Telesat said it chose MDA to build its Lightspeed constellation partly because of its digital beam-forming array antenna technology, enabling the satellites to be smaller and cheaper than those previously under consideration with Thales Alenia Space.

MDA CEO Mike Greenley said buying SatixFy’s digital payload division will help it expand next-generation satellite capabilities to meet growing customer demand.

“This acquisition is a natural next step in solidifying and strengthening our market position,” Greenley said in a statement, “and addressing customer demand as we continue to capitalize on the growth in the [LEO] satellite communication market.”

In addition to the Lightspeed contract, MDA recently announced a contract to build third-generation LEO satellites for Globalstar that Apple is supporting financially.

As part of the SatifxFy deal, MDA also agreed to make $20 million in advanced payments for chips used in satellites and ground systems that SatixFy now intends to focus on.

SatixFy is retaining intellectual property related to satellite payload chips following the sale, which the companies expect to close before the end of the year following regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Nir Barkan, acting CEO of SatixFy, said the deal gives the company more opportunities to sell chips to payload designers, and paves the way to collaboration with MDA in other areas.

SatixFy started trading on the New York Stock Exchange last year after merging with Endurance Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with no prior revenue, to get more access to capital to expand its range of chips, antennas, terminals, and modems.

The company’s strategy pivot comes roughly a year and a half after its cofounder and former CEO Yoel Gat died from cancer in April, a month after announcing plans for the SPAC merger.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...