Canada is geographically the second largest country in the world, with its population of 30 million scattered throughout a vast northern wilderness. Although the majority of its citizens live within 150 miles of the US/Canada border, many others live in small isolated communities, out of range of the manor Canadian broadcast services. Early on the Canadian government realized the immense contribution that satellite technology could make in uniting its diverse population. In 1969, the Canadian Parliament created the Telesat organization, an all-Canadian company charged with the task of bringing into existence the worlds first domestic telecommunications system using geosynchronous satellites.
Between 1972 and 1975, Canadas Telesat organization make satellite history with the launch of the worlds first domestic telecommunications satellites. ANIK satellites, names after the Canadian Inuit Indian word for little brother, transmitted the first television and broadcast radio programs into previously isolated regions of Canada and Alaska. In 1978, Canada once again made satellite history by launching the worlds first bird capable of operating on 12 as well as 4 GHz frequencies. Experiments conducted through ANIK B demonstrated the practicality of the small dish antenna for direct satellite reception and provided the worlds first first commercial 12-GHz TV service.
In 1982, Telesat deployed ANIK D1, Canadas first 24 transponder satellite. The countrys second 12 GHz satellite, ANIK C3, was also launched from the space shuttle Columbia. In 1983, ANIK became operational; this satellite was temporarily leased to the American0based USCI corporation for Americas first Ku band DBS service.
So what are ANIK C3 satellites? With four primary spot beams and 16 transponders in the 12 GHz band, each of which can carry two video signals, ANIK C series satellites are in a prime position to deliver powerful regional TV signals not only to Canada, but to most of the United States as well. ANIK C3 was used for delivering cable TV services to Canadian cable TV operators; eventually the bird was able to carry some video for the private earth station owner. ANIK C2 was released by USCI to deliver five channels of subscription television programming into small sized dishes in the Northeastern US. USCI moved onto an American GSTAR satellite late 1984, on the bird was up and running. ANIK C2 then reverted to use by Canadian companies.