Newly Launched Anik G1 To Provide Revenue Boost for Telesat

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UPDATED 1:12 p.m. EDT

PARIS — An International Launch Services (ILS) Proton rocket successfully launched Telesat’s Anik G1 commercial telecommunications satellite April 16, carrying an X-band payload for military customers in addition to commercial C- and Ku-band transponders, into geostationary transfer orbit, ILS, Telesat and satellite builder Space Systems/Loral announced.

Operating from the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Proton rocket was conducting the second of a planned six ILS missions scheduled by August as the Reston, Va.-based company returns to regular activity following a December failure that placed a satellite into a bad orbit.

The Anik G1 launch mission lasted nine hours and 13 minutes and featured five ignitions of the Proton’s Breeze-M upper stage before the satellite was released.

ILS’s next customer, Paris-based Eutelsat, said April 16 its Eutelsat 3D commercial telecommunications satellite had arrived at the Baikonur spaceport to prepare for a mid-May launch.

For Canada’s Telesat, the launch will bring an immediate revenue boost. Canadian satellite television broadcaster Shaw Direct has leased 16 of Anik G1’s 28 Ku-band transponders for 15 years. The satellite’s three X-band transponders have been leased, also for 15 years, by Astrium Services, which already commercializes X-band capacity aboard Britain’s Skynet military telecommunications satellites, which are owned by Astrium through the duration of a contract scheduled to run until 2022.

Anik G1 will extend Astrium Services’ X-band reach to most of the world, with X-band beams stretching from 180 degrees west to 135 degrees east.

Astrium said in an April 16 statement that Anik G1 “will provide the first commercial X-band coverage across North and Latin America, with substantial coverage of the Pacific Ocean reaching out to Hawaii and Easter Island.”

Astrium Services Chief Executive Evert Dudok said the company’s in-orbit X-band capacity now totals 75 transponders providing 2.2 gigahertz of throughput. The fourth of the Skynet 5 series of satellites, called Skynet 5D, began commercial operations April 2 at 53 degrees east in geostationary orbit, Astrium Services said.

The company said Skynet 5D’s operations over the Middle East will make it the most-used of the company’s satellites. Built by Astrium Satellites of Britain and France, Skynet 5D has larger fuel tanks than its predecessors, “enabling it to be repositioned more frequently to meet operational needs,” Astrium Services said.

Anik G1, meanwhile, also carries 24 C-band transponders, which Telesat has said would be marketed to customers in Latin America. The satellite’s C- and Ku-band payloads will more than double Telesat’s capacity for Latin America from Telesat’s 107.3 degrees west orbital slot. The Anik F1 satellite will remain at the slot and be operated alongside Anik G1.

Latin America is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for satellite bandwidth.

Anik G1 weighed 4,900 kilograms at launch and was built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif. Space Systems/Loral said April 16 the satellite had deployed its solar arrays, established communications with the ground and was operating as planned.