Ciel looks good for ILS, SES/Echostar

International Launch Services successfully orbited Canada’s Ciel satellite in the early hours of Wednesday (US) and all concerned breathed a large sigh of relief. Lofting any satellite into orbit is a worrying time, but on this occasion ILS’ Proton and Breeze M combination worked perfectly, and initial reports all talk positively about the satellite’s good state of health.

The launch means that a Canadian company, with SES and Echostar involved, will now be beaming HD programming from this new Ciel II bird. Brian Neill, chairman of the Ciel Satellite Group, said: “Last evening’s launch of Ciel II is a keystone event in the foundation of Ciel, Canada’s newest satellite operating company. Now that the spacecraft has delivered an initial signal, Ciel, investors, and our customer, DISH Network, can look forward to Ciel II’s operation early next year.”

He continued: “The successful launch of Ciel II is the culmination of a complex and highly specialized sequence of tasks that fully exercised a remarkable team of experts from SES Americom, Thales Alenia Space (TAS), SES Engineering, and ILS - from beginning to end, the mission took 33 months. Let me thank them now for a job well done!”

Ciel II is the very largest Spacebus craft ever built by Thales, and it will go to 129 deg W, with 32 Ku-band transponders, and multiple spot-beams making it perfect for HD and in particular ‘local into local’ services.