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2012 – A Year of Major Anniversaries for Telesat and the Global Satellite Communications Industry

OTTAWA, CANADA, July 23, 2012 – Telesat, a leading global satellite services operator, today is marking the anniversaries of two programs that were historic achievements in satellite communications:

  • 50 years ago today Telstar 1, built by Telesat’s predecessors at AT&T and Bell Labs, delivered the first live satellite TV transmission between Europe and North America
  •  40 years ago Telesat launched Anik A1, the world’s first commercial domestic communications satellite in geostationary orbit

Telstar 1 amazed millions of viewers on both sides of the Atlantic during its seven months in service with live images of sporting events, musical performances and news broadcasts. It helped bring the phrase “Live via Satellite” into common use and end the practice of watching overseas events by delayed broadcasts that relied on physical transport of recordings between continents. Its technology differed from previous “passive” satellites that simply reflected radio signals. Instead, Telstar 1 received a signal from the ground, amplified it and sent it back to earth establishing an operational standard still being used today by hundreds of communications satellites in orbit.

Anik A1, launched in late 1972, was equipped with 12 C-band transponders to improve telephone and TV services across Canada, especially in remote areas previously served only by HF radio. It proved effective at bringing Canadians closer together over the country’s vast territory and was retired after nearly 10 years of service. By that time two more Anik A satellites had been launched as well as Telesat’s Anik B, the first commercial satellite to have both C and Ku-band capacity.

“The monumental success of Telstar 1 and Anik A1 demonstrated the potential for satellite communications to bring our world closer together and make us feel part of a global community,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “Telesat is proud to have been at the center of many satellite industry firsts throughout our history – innovations that have shaped the growth of communications and made our digital world possible. As with any anniversary, it’s good to look back on past achievements, but it’s also good to look forward and recognize that new advances in satellite technology are being introduced that hold as much promise for improving communications today as the historic Telstar and Anik programs did at the start of our industry.”

About Telesat ( Telesat is a leading global fixed satellite services operator providing reliable and secure satellite-delivered communications solutions worldwide to broadcast, telecom, corporate and government customers.

 Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with offices and facilities around the world, the company’s state-of-the-art fleet consists of 13 satellites and the Canadian Ka-band payload on ViaSat-1, plus one satellite under construction. Telesat also manages the operations of additional satellites for third parties. Privately held, Telesat’s principal shareholders are Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: LORL).

For further information:

Gerry Nagler, Telesat +1 908 698-4907 (

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