Ottawa’s Telesat launches satellite on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

It may not be a red-hot Tesla Roadster, but a local firm’s satellite was set into orbit by one of the world’s fastest-rising space companies following a successful launch this past weekend.

Ottawa-based Telesat announced Monday morning that its new Telstar 19 Vantage satellite launched on the back of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday. It was the 13th launch of the year for Elon Musk’s rocket firm, and the 26th time the Falcon 9 has safely landed after launch.

Built by Maxar-owned SSL in California, the satellite will have service capacity for five South American countries as well as Canada’s north. Telesat has long-term contracts in place to enhance broadband connectivity in 25 Nunavut communities with the Telstar 19.

Speaking to OBJ last year, Michelle Beck – Telesat’s vice-president of North American sales – said the challenging landscape of northern Canada makes reliable satellite coverage a critical element of Nunavut’s internet infrastructure.

“There’s no roads, there’s no means really of bringing fibre or microwave affordably to those communities, so satellite is it,” she said. “I think this is going to be a game-changer, frankly.”

The federal government marked improving broadband connectivity in Canada’s rural and northern communities as a priority in its most recent budget, setting aside $100 million for projects related to low-earth orbit satellites.

The successful SpaceX launch is all the more reassuring for Telesat after a failed attempt to launch one of its satellites via Russia earlier this year.