Canada-based satellite operator Telesat’s EADS Astrium Satellites designed and built Anik F3 spacecraft is being prepared in Baikonur, Kazakhstan for launch on 10 April by an International Launch Services’ Proton Breeze M launch vehicle.

Anika F3, a Eurostar E3000 model with a mass of 4,640kg (10,208lb) and 15-year service lifetime, has been mated with the Breeze M upper stage. Once launched Anika F3 will provide internet based services and broadcasting and business telecommunications throughout North America from its 118.7º west orbit using 24 active transponders in C-band, 32 in Ku-band and two in Ka-band.

On 28 March operations began to assemble the Proton Ascent Unit, also called the Space Head Unit, which consists of the Anik F3 spacecraft, payload adapter and separation system, Breeze M upper stage and payload fairing.

This assembly involves mechanical and electrical mating of the spacecraft with the adapter and the Breeze M, with the work performed jointly by specialists from EADS Astrium and Russian Proton launcher provider Khrunichev Space Center.

When the assembly is completed the spacecraft, adaptor and separation system stack is rotated from a vertical into a horizontal position for encapsulation within the payload fairing. This will be followed by subsequent electrical checks and final operations with the Ascent Unit. The AU integration operations are expected to be completed by next week.

Astrium Satellites is the prime contractor for the satellite and responsible for launch and early operations as part of the in-orbit delivery contract.