Canada buys satellite and launch from Lockheed Martin
Posted: June 29, 2001

Nimiq 1 satellite in Lockheed Martin factory. Photo: Lockheed Martin
Telesat Canada has bought a new direct-to-home TV broadcasting satellite and a rocket to launch the craft from Lockheed Martin. The Nimiq 2 spacecraft is due for liftoff from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas 5 booster in the fourth quarter of 2002.

The The Ku/Ka-band satellite, based upon Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems' A2100AX-model design, will be positioned in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator at 91 degrees West longitude. It features 32 active 24 MHz Ku-band transponders with 120 watt power amplifiers, and also has a Ka-band payload that will provide broadband services. The minimum service life is 12 years.

The launch will be managed by International Launch Services (ILS), which is the joint Lockheed Martin/Khrunichev/Energia venture that globally markets Atlas and Russian Proton rockets.

"The launch of Telesat's second direct broadcast satellite will enable the continued growth of our business," said Larry Boisvert, Telesat's president and CEO. "We're very pleased to work with Lockheed Martin and ILS -- our partners on the launch of the historic Nimiq 1 satellite in 1999."

Nimiq 1 was launched by a Proton, and ILS says the workhorse Russian launcher will stand as a backup for Nimiq 2 if the Atlas 5 is unable to fly the mission on schedule.

"Having repeat business means customers are confident we'll provide reliable launch vehicles and dependable schedules," said ILS President Mark Albrecht.

The name Nimiq was chosen from 36,000 submissions in a national contest in 1998. It is an Inuit word for any object or force that unites things or binds them together.

The launch order is one of two Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems recently booked on the Atlas 5. The other customer has not been announced, however.

The Atlas 5 is scheduled to debut in the second quarter of next year carrying a communications satellite. But that customer has not yet been disclosed either.

"The customer community has been very receptive to the Atlas 5, and we're on track to launch the first in the series next year," Albrecht said.

That first rocket has been delivered to Cape Canaveral where it is being used for pathfinder exercises in the new launch facilities at Complex 41.