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Archive | On January 20, 1994, the Anik satellites failed

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan18,2024

Archives | January 20, 1994, satellites Anik broken down

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Launched in the fall of 1972, the Anik satellite is part of a series of three geostationary satellites intended for Canadian telecommunications.


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On January 20, 1994, Anik E-1 and E-2, then Canada's main telecommunications satellites, stopped working one after the other. This service interruption greatly disrupts the transmission of television and radio broadcasts in the Canadian Far North and across the country.

On January 20, 1994, the Canadian telecommunications system was greatly paralyzed.

The reason? 36,000 kilometers above the equator, the Anik E-1 and E-2 satellites stopped working, one after the other.

A considerable number of northern communities, as well as millions of Canadians in the rest of the country, are deprived of television, radio and even telephone for several hours.

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The blackout, on an unprecedented scale at the time, was caused by a major solar storm.

The failure of the two satellites confirms their importance at the time for the smooth functioning of telecommunications throughout Canada.

A little over two decades earlier, with the deployment in November 1972 of Anik, the first geostationary satellite in history, Canada had fully entered the modern era of telecommunications.

News 24, November 9, 1972

The Anik satellite is the first in a series of three, host Joël Le Bigot tells us in the news bulletin Actualités 24 of November 9, 1972.

Two other Anik satellite launches were carried out in 1973 and 1974 from the NASA base located at Cape Kennedy in Florida.

Canada is thus well in the saddle in exploring the telecommunications market.

Owned by the private company Telesat Canada, the geostationary satellite represents the first milestone in a national communications system that will allow telephone and television to reach the most remote corners of the north of the country.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Of the twelve channels available on Anik, the Société Radio-Canada reserved three in order to expand its television network and broadcast from the beginning of 1973 its broadcasts in French and English in the Canadian Far North.

The Arrow of Time, October 29, 1972

The 29th October 1972, the show La Arrow du tempsoffers us a complete report on all the progress embodied by the Anik satellite.

In the field of satellite telecommunications, Canada takes the lead with the launch of Anik, Télésat representative Henri de Puyjalon told journalist Paul-Émile Tremblay.

With its twelve channels and its rotation in harmony with that of the Earth, the Anik satellite – which means little brother in Inuktitut – represents a new step in this field.

Among other firsts, a Canadian team based in Ottawa will take charge of the maneuvers to place Anik in its orbit, at more than 36,000 km from Earth.

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Ground stations are designed to receive broadcasts from Anik satellites.

Thirty-seven ground stations were then put into service to relay Anik's signals and thus meet different objectives.

First there is that of meeting the telecommunications needs in the Far North, which practically do not exist.

Through its communications capabilities, Anik could notably facilitate prospecting and development of the mining industry.

Anik satellite channels have also been reserved by telephone companies to ensure long-range communications from north to south, but also from east to west of the country.

Anik, July 1, 1973

July 1, 1973, a few months after deployment by Anik, the special program The Arctic on television looks at the advent of this technology in the Canadian Far North.

Just yesterday, the hunter came to exchange his furs for sugar, flour, tea, a hunting rifle or any other product necessary for his subsistence, says host Bernard Derome.

Now, color televisions are popular at the Hudson's Bay counter in Inuvik, in the Northern Territory. West.

If some prices are sometimes double or triple those of our large cities, the cost of a television does not seem to frighten the customer.

A quote from the host Bernard Derome

In a report filmed on location, the journalist Henri Crusène shows us a customer who stares at the sound box new television on the back of his snowmobile.

The sellers of Hudson's Bay confirm that a lot of color television sets are sold, and undoubtedly even more among Aboriginal customers .

White people bring their television from the South, explains saleswoman Jacquie Couture.

Hours of sunshine are very short and, with the intense cold of winter, it is very appreciable to have television broadcasts, expresses the supplier Michel Fournier.

I believe that Anik's arrival will have a great influence on the economic future of the Yukon, believes Raoul St-Julien, manager of the CFWH radio station in Whitehorse.

This bright economic future will allow industry and even government agencies to bring personnel to our region.

Television thus represents a way for workers from the South to entertain themselves and maintain a link with the world.

And what about are there indigenous populations?

There has been much talk, since the advent of television in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, of programs designed by the Aboriginal people and carried out by them, declares Bernard Derome.

In 1973, for the majority of the 60,000 inhabitants scattered across the immense and desert territories of the Arctic region, television was only a distant dream.

Anik satellites had helped make this dream come true.

But the breakdown of 1994 showed that the latter could disappear momentarily due in particular to a technological failure.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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