The Anik series of satellites has served Canadian satellite needs for over 20 years. With the launch of Telesat Canada's first Anik satellite in 1972, Canada became the first country in the world to have a satellite in geostationary orbit for the purpose of domestic (that is, non-military) communications.
Right now, the fifth generation of Anik satellites are in geostationary orbit over Canada providing communications services for Canadians. Anik E2 was launched in April 1991, on board an Ariane rocket. When Anik E1 was launched in September of 1991, it was to be the most powerful satellite in commercial use in all of North America. Anik E1 had the ability to hold 56 television channels compared to the standard 16. On March 26, 1996, however, the satellite failed when the southern solar panel ripped off, causing power to be lost to the satellite.
The Anik E's provide North America-wide communications in both the C-band (6/4 GHz) and higher power Ku-band (14/12 GHz), and each satellite carries the equivalent of 56 analog television channels. This capacity is provided by a instrument called a transponder. Anik carries 24 C-band transponders and 16 Ku-band transponders, with each Ku-band transponder carrying two analog television signals.
The new Anik E satellites use the three-axis stabilized method of attitude control. The previous Anik A-D satellites used the spin-stabilized method.
Currently, the Anik E2 satellite system carries virtually all of Canada's television broadcast traffic, as well as providing business with a variety of voice, data, and image services.