Telesat and Canadian Space Agency improve delivery of crucial satellite-based services to remote regions of Canada

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2001

OTTAWA - March 7, 2001 - Telesat Canada and the Canadian Space Agency today announced the launch of a new initiative that will dramatically improve emergency medical response to marine vessels traveling in Canadian waters.

The Marine Interactive Satellite Technologies (MIST) program is the third in a series of progressively successful multimedia satellite-based initiatives led by the Canadian Space Agency and Telesat that are providing vital services to Canadians in remote regions of the country.

"Innovations in leading-edge satellite technology are rapidly bridging the gap between urban and remote regions of Canada," said the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency. "Partnerships between the CSA, Telesat Canada and other leading organizations are helping improve the quality of essential services such as education, health and safety for Canadians across the country."

Marine Interactive Satellite Technologies (MIST)

The MIST project equips marine vessels with high-speed mobile satellite communication terminals that can link patients or on-board medical staff with medical experts on shore. Along with use for emergency purposes, the terminals can be used by passengers for everything from checking their office e-mail to booking a hotel at their destination port.

"Telesat is delighted to continue its strong relationship with the Canadian Space Agency," said Paul Bush, vice president of corporate development at Telesat. "While Telesat is rapidly increasing its international business as a leading satellite consultant and project manager, remaining involved in projects that improve the lives of Canadians is immensely rewarding for all of us."

Remote Communities Services Telecentre (RCST)

In 1998, Telesat and the CSA began working together on the Remote Communities Services Telecentre (RCST) program, which has since linked rural communities in Labrador and Newfoundland with major urban centres in Canada via satellite telecentres. Since their establishment, the telecentres in each community have become key hubs for the provision of tele-learning and tele-health services, delivered using satellite-enabled high speed Internet access, videoconferencing and digital imaging.

Integrated Emergency Medicine Network (IEMN)

Last year, the CSA and Telesat launched their second initiative, called the Integrated Emergency Medicine Network (IEMN), which built on the infrastructure created by the RCST project to provide an integrated medical emergency response network in Newfoundland and Labrador. The program's undertaking established high-speed satellite communications facilities that can link emergency personnel treating injuries at disaster sites with medical experts in major urban centres.

Using the same principle, the service has been extended to land and airborne ambulances, allowing emergency doctors to monitor the vital signs of patients in transit and prepare for their arrival, using mobile satellite communications technology.

Canada is a co-operating member of the European Space Agency, and these three projects are also part of the ESA's ARTES 3 Multimedia Initiative.

"Given the frequency and severity of environmental and man-made disasters around the world, any technology that improves emergency care represents an exciting breakthrough with global potential," said Abdul Lakhani, senior specialist in applications and networks at Telesat and a pioneer in rural and remote communications. "Working with the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, we're using satellite technology to connect Canada, providing a level of medical care, education, and connectivity never before imagined."

In addition to its ongoing involvement with the Canadian Space Agency on the MIST, RCST and IEMN projects, Telesat is also playing an integral role in three Industry Canada-funded projects that are establishing satellite-based high-speed communications links to other communities across the country.

About the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

Established in 1989 and situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services and Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity. For more information:

About Telesat

Telesat ( is the world's most experienced commercial satellite operator. The company made history in 1972 with the launch of the first domestic commercial communications satellite in geostationary orbit. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Telesat now provides telecommunications and broadcast distribution services throughout the Americas and is a leading consultant, operator and partner in satellite ventures around the globe. Telesat is a wholly owned subsidiary of BCE Inc., one of the world's leading telecommunications companies.

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Daniel P. Tisch
Vice President
Environics Communications
(416) 920-9000 ext. 260

Marilynn Wright
Vice President
Telesat Canada
(613) 748-8855

Anna Kapiniari
Public Relations & Media
Canadian Space Agency
(450) 926-4350

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