The Nimiq satellites are a Canadian fleet of geostationary telecommunications satellites owned by Telesat and used by satellite television providers including Bell Satellite TV and EchoStar (Dish Network). 'Nimiq' is an Inuit word used for an object or a force which binds things together. A contest in 1998 was held to choose the name of these satellites. The contest drew over 36,000 entries.
Nimiq 1 was launched on May 21, 1999 by a Proton-K Blok DM-3 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It was Canada's first direct broadcast digital TV satellite and was paid for by Telesat, a Canadian communications company and subsidiary of Bell Canada Enterprises.
Nimiq 2, launched on December 29, 2002 on a Proton Breeze M rocket, includes 2 K-band transponders. Nimiq 2 provides additional bandwidth for HDTV and interactive television applications. On February 20, 2003, Nimiq 2 experienced a partial power failure and as such can only power 26 of its 32 Ku-band transponders.
Nimiq 2's orbital slot (123° West Longitude) was changed to 91.61° East Longitude during June 2019.
Nimiq 3 and Nimiq 4i were leased by Bell Satellite TV from DirecTV Inc. when they were already in orbit. Originally called DirectTV3 and DirectTV2 respectively, these Hughes HS-601 models were brought out of retirement and are currently used to share some of the workload from Nimiq 2 and Nimiq 1, respectively. They went online in Bell TV's stead in 2004 and 2006.
Nimiq 4i ran out of fuel and was replaced by Nimiq 4iR on April 28, 2007.
Nimiq 4 was launched on September 19, 2008, by a Proton-M / Breeze M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will replace Nimiq 4i, and will provide advanced services such as high-definition television, specialty channels and foreign language programming.
In 2009 Telesat announced plans to build and launch its 19th satellite, Nimiq 5. It selected International Launch Services (ILS) for the launch of the Nimiq 5 satellite in 2009. Space Systems/Loral has been selected as the manufacturer for Nimiq 5.
Dish Network is expected to lease all of the 32 Ku-band transponder payload. The satellite will be located at 72.7° West longitude.
The satellite's manufacturing plan also includes contracts with the Canadian satellite industry, including multiplexers and switches from Com Dev International Ltd. and antennas from MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, Ltd (MDA Ltd).
The Nimiq 5 satellite was shipped from the manufacturer, Space Systems Loral located in Palo Alto California, to the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, on August 18, 2009. Telesat Canada contracted with International Launch Services in April 2007 for the launch of Nimiq 5 by an ILS Proton Briz M rocket.
Nimiq 5 was successfully launched into space aboard a Proton M / Breeze M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:19:19 pm PDT on September 17, 2009.
Satellite has been be fully leased for its lifetime by Bell Satellite TV which will use it to service direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television subscribers across Canada. Nimiq 6 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 17 May 2012.