Update, April 16, 8:20 a.m. EDT: Anik G1 was successfully released from the upper stage of the rocket nine hours and 13 minutes after the launch. The satellite is now in orbit above Earth.
A new communications satellite aims to ease the strain of overcrowded communications networks in Latin America, while adding capacity to direct-to-home services in Canada and government and military users across the Americas.
Anik G1 lifted off at 2:36 p.m. EDT (6:36 p.m. UTC) today, April 15, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The satellite, carried by a Proton-M rocket, is still undergoing orbital maneuvers as of this writing; the upper Breeze-M stage will fire five times to put Anik G1 in the proper orbit.
These maneuvers should be completed about 9 hours after launch, if all goes well, at which point Anik G1 will separate.
Anik G1 is expected to last 15 years, a typical lifespan for a communications satellite. Once Anik G1 is activated, should all go well with the deployment, Canadian operator Telesat is marketing the satellite as a way to alleviate overcapacity in Latin American telecommunications services.