OTD: Canada’s first communications satellite retires

On today’s date in 1982, Canada’s first domestic communications satellite, the “Anik A1,” was retired after 10 years in service.

The Anik satellites are a series of geostationary communications satellites launched by Telesat Canada between 1972 and 2013. Some of the later satellites in the series remain operational while others – like the Anik A1 – have since retired.

The series’ name was chosen in a national contest won by Julie-Frances Czapla, of St. Leonard, Qué. In Inuktitut, Anik means “little brother.”

The Anik A1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a Thor Delta rocket on Nov. 9, 1972.

With the launch, Canada became the first country in the world to have a domestic communications satellite system using a satellite in the geostationary orbit.

Another 42-cent stamp shows a view of Canada from the Space Shuttle.


While the Anik A1 was a Hughes Aircraft HS-333-style satellite, the E2, which was featured on a 42-cent stamp (Scott #1441) issued by Canada Post in 1992, was a GE Astro 5000.

The Anik E2 was launched on Sept. 26, 1991, and retired on Jan. 18, 2005.

Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company, the Anik E2 stamp depicts Earth from space with the satellite in the foreground.

In the background is a remote sensing photograph of the area near Québec city. The stamp has general tagging along each side and was released as part of a se-tenant pair.

The second 42-cent stamp (SC #1442) shows a view of Canada from the Space Shuttle. The background design of an electrocardiogram reading from a human heart symbolizes the various experiments astronauts perform on themselves while in space.

Together, Canada Post’s 1992 “Canada in Space” stamps are among Canada’s best-known space stamps.

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