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Anik G1 mission

2013 April 15-16

The Russian commercial launch workhorse successfully delivered a commercial communications satellite for a Canadian operator.

A Proton-M rocket with Briz-M upper stage lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Pad 39 at Site 200 as scheduled on April 15, 2013, at 22:36 Moscow Time (00:36 local time on April 16).

The rocket is carrying the 4,905-kilogram Anik G1 satellite for Telesat of Ontario, Canada.

Around 11 minutes after the launch, the Briz-M upper stage with its payload successfully separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle and started its first burn to reach an initial parking orbit, mission officials said. Five burns of Briz-M were also successful, as well as the final departure maneuver of the upper stage from its payload.

Mission Profile

The Anik G1 mission was to use a standard launch scenario with five engine firings of the Briz-M upper stage. The first three stages of the Proton follow a routine ascent path to place the payload section (Briz M upper stage and the satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. Around 1.75 seconds before liftoff, six RD-276 engines on the first stage of the Proton rocket ignite practically simultaneously. As the flight control system confirms normal operation, the engines reach 107 percent of their nominal thrust and the rocket leaves the ground. Half a second later, the flight control system confirms the liftoff. After six seconds of flight, engines increase their thrust to 112 percent from nominal. For the first 10 seconds, the vehicle rises vertically and then starts a bank turn to align with the correct azimuth to enter the initial orbit with an inclination 51.5 degrees toward the Equator.

The exact time of key events in the launch, such as separation of all stages and the payload firing, as well as the precise orientation of the rocket in flight are adjusted in real time in each mission by the autonomous flight control system in order to maintain proper parameters of the flight.

Normally, the first stage separates two minutes into the flight and the second stage ends its mission at T+327 seconds. Some 20 seconds later, the payload fairing splits in two halves, both of which rotate on special hinges away from the rocket and then drop off. The exact time of the event chosen to ensure its impact at the same site with the second stage.

The third stage concludes its operation with the cutoff of the main engine, while the steering engine continues firing for a short period of time to ensure the precise speed at separation. Upon the steering engine cutoff, the third stage separates and fires its braking solid motors to increase distance from the Briz upper stage some 582 seconds after liftoff.

From that point in the mission, the Briz-M was to perform planned maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geostationary transfer orbit. Separation of the Anik G1 satellite into a 9,138 by 35,786-kilometer orbit with an inclination 18.4 degrees toward the Equator was scheduled to occur approximately nine hours, 13 minutes after liftoff. The spacecraft was to use its own propulsion system to enter its final geostationary orbit "hanging" 36,000 kilometers above the Equator at 107.3 degrees West longitude.

Anik G1 mission timeline:

Moscow time
Elapsed time
April 15
2:36 p.m.
2:38 p.m.
119 seconds
1st stage separation
2:41 p.m.
327 seconds
2nd stage separation
345 seconds
Payload fairing separation
2:45 p.m.
571 seconds
Third stage main engine cutoff
582 seconds
Payload section separation from the 3rd stage
22:47:46 - 22:52:12
2:47 - 2:52 p.m.
00:11:46 - 00:16:12
First engine firing on the Briz-M stage
23:43:33 - 00:01:19
3:43 - 4:01 p.m.
01:07:33 - 01:25:19
Second engine firing on the Briz-M stage
April 16
02:04:30 - 02:18:57
6:04 - 6:18 p.m.*
03:28:30 - 03:42:57
Third engine firing on the Briz-M stage
6:19 p.m.*
Briz-M external tank separation
02:21:14 - 02:24:23
6:21 - 6:24 p.m.*
03:45:14 - 03:48:23
Fourth engine firing on the Briz-M stage
07:27:35 - 07:36:31
11:27 - 11:36 p.m.*
08:51:35 - 09:00:31
Fifth engine firing on the Briz-M stage
11:49 p.m.*
Spacecraft separation from Briz-M stage

* April 15

The spacecraft

According to original plans the spacecraft was expected to carry 16 transponders operating in the extended Ku-band that would be used by Shaw Direct, a leading provider of direct-to-home satellite TV services in Canada. Anik G1 was also designed to provide expansion and follow-on capacity at 107.3 degrees West covering South America.  In addition, the satellite was to have capacity operating in the X-band frequencies over the Americas and the Pacific Ocean—the first satellite to cover the Pacific Ocean with substantial X-band coverage. To be built by Space Systems/Loral utilizing the flight-proven LS-1300 platform, Anik G1 was anticipated to have a service lifetime of 15 years.

By the time of the launch, the spacecraft was reported to carry 55 transponders enabling it to double C- and Ku-band capacity over South America from this orbital location, provide additional DTH services in extended Ku-Band and provide military X-band coverage of the Americas and substantial portions of the Pacific Ocean. It was now to carry 24 C-band transponders, 28 Ku-band transponders and 3 X-band transponders.

Mission history

The agreement for the launch of the Anik G1 satellite on Proton was announced on June 1, 2010. During 2012, the mission was planned for December, however by November it was postponed to the end of January 2013. Later, rescheduled to April 15. The spacecraft arrived to Baikonur by March 18, 2013. A fully assembled launch vehicle with the spacecraft was rolled out to the fueling station on April 10 and to the launch pad at Site 200 on April 12, 2013.

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Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: June 3, 2013

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Anik G1

Anik G1 satellite. Credit: Space Systems/Loral


A Proton rocket with Anik G1 satellite shortly after the arrival at its launch pad on April 12, 2013. Credit: GKNPTs Khrunichev


Proton launches with Anik G1 on April 15, 2013. Credit: ILS


Anik G1 with Briz M upper stage. Credit: ILS


Planned position of Anik G1 satellite in its final orbit. Credit: SSL