Ciel II Satellite Successfully Launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome

Thursday, December 11th, 2008 

OTTAWA & MOSCOW — The Ciel Satellite Group today announced that its first purpose-built communications satellite, Ciel II, roared into a brilliantly clear night sky onboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton M/Breeze M launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 13:43:00 UTC/GMT/8:43 a.m. EST Wednesday. The Ciel II communications satellite will be providing high definition television services into the North American market; the anchor customer is DISH Network Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH).

After nine hours and twelve minutes, the spacecraft separated from the Breeze M upper stage and was placed into geostationary transfer orbit today. Approximately one minute later, the satellite sent an initial signal which was received at the Thales Alenia Space (TAS) Spacecraft Operations Centre in Cannes, France (22.56 UTC/GMT/5:56 p.m. EST).

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’s 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, SES Engineering, and ILS — from beginning to end, the mission took 33 months. Let me thank them now for a job well done!”

Blaise Jaeger, Executive Vice President Telecommunication of Thales Alenia Space said, “Ciel II was a great challenge, allowing TAS to fully exploit the potential of the Spacebus 4000 platform with a complex payload of regional and spot beams for Ciel and its customer, Dish Network.” He continued, “Our relationship with the SES family has been successful for more than a decade, we eagerly await our next assignment.”

Frank McKenna, President of International Launch Services, said, “I would like to thank Ciel and SES placing their confidence and trust in ILS and the Proton Breeze M. We entered into this launch contract in February of last year and set the launch for December 2008; this supports ILS long-standing commitment to precise, on-time delivery for our customers. Ciel II is the 16th satellite that ILS has launched for the SES family, a successful, on-going collaboration that spans more than a dozen years.”

About Ciel II

Built by Thales Alenia Space, Ciel II is the largest Spacebus class spacecraft ever built, weighing 5, 592 kg at launch; Ciel II is expected to operate for at least 15 years. The new BSS spacecraft will be capable of serving all regions of Canada visible from 129 degrees West Longitude, as well as the larger North American market; the design was closely coordinated with DISH Network Corporation, a primary customer for the new satellite. The Ciel Satellite Group was awarded the license for 129 degrees West from Industry Canada in October 2004. Ciel II will be operated from the new Satellite Operations Centre at SED Systems located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The Ciel II satellite is designed to provide 10.6 kilowatts of power to the communications payload at end of life, which consists of 32 Ku-band transponders. The all Ku-band BSS satellite features high frequency re-use and both regional and spot beams. The designated mission of Ciel II is to expand the bandwidth resources needed to increase the number of high definition and other TV services offered by broadcasters throughout North America.