Press Release

Ciel Satellite Groups First Purpose-built Spacecraft Readied for December 10th Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
December 8, 2008
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The Ciel Satellite Group announced today that the launch of Ciel II is on schedule for Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 13:43 (GMT) aboard the International Launch Services’ ProtonM/Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the Canadian BSS geosynchronous satellite will be operated by Ciel at 129 degrees West and deliver services throughout North America.

Ciel II is the largest Spacebus class spacecraft ever built, weighing 5,592 kg at launch; Ciel II is expected to operate for at least 15 years. The new BSS spacecraft will be capable of serving all regions of Canada visible from 129 degrees West Longitude, as well as the larger North American market. The satellite’s design was closely coordinated with an affiliate of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH – News), a primary customer for the new satellite. The Ciel Satellite Group was awarded the license for 129 degrees West Longitude from Industry Canada in October 2004. Ciel II will be operated from a new Satellite Operations Centre at SED Systems in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The Ciel II satellite provides 10.6 kilowatts of power to the communications payload, which consists of 32 Ku-band transponders. The all Ku-band BSS satellite features high frequency re-use and both regional and spot beams. The designated mission of Ciel II is to expand the bandwidth resources needed to increase the number of high definition and other TV services offered by broadcasters throughout North America.

Brian Neill, chairman of the Ciel Satellite Group, said, “The daily reports from Baikonur indicate that all systems are go for December 10, a reflection of the seamless teamwork by the experts from ILS, Thales and our investor/partner, SES, who have been preparing Ciel II for launch since the spacecraft arrived in Kazakhstan on November 9.” He continued, “This is a momentous occasion for Ciel, as we fulfill our promise to Industry Canada and deliver a terrific spacecraft to the new Canadian BSS orbital position of 129 degrees West Longitude.”

About Thales Alenia Space

European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups’ “Space Alliance”. Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company has a total of 7,200 employees and 11 industrial sites, with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

About ILS and Khrunichev:

ILS provides satellite customers with a complete array of services and support, from contract signing through mission management and on-orbit delivery. ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton vehicle to commercial satellite operators worldwide. ILS is a U.S. company incorporated in Delaware, and headquartered in Reston, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Khrunichev, which holds the majority interest in ILS, is one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry. Khrunichev manufactures the Proton system and is developing the Angara launch system. The Proton launches from facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and has a heritage of more than 330 missions since 1965. Khrunichev includes among its branches a number of key manufacturers of launch vehicle and spacecraft components in Moscow and in other cities of the Russian Federation. For more information, visit

About Ciel Satellite

Ciel is a Canadian owned and controlled organization supported by a strong combination of partners, including: Borealis Infrastructure (part of the OMERS Pension Plan’s group of companies); Canadian satellite pioneer Brian Neill; and SES AMERICOM, an SES S.A. Company, a worldwide leader in the satellite industry.

SpaceRef staff editor.