Canada has been a world leader in satellite technology since we launched our first "bird", the Alouette, in 1962.

Much of what you do involves satellites, whether your morning TV show, Internet access, satellite radio or a long-distance phone call. In Canada that data is almost certainly on a satellite belonging to Ottawa based Telesat.

In the first half of this year Telesat signed deals for two new satellites and a third is already under construction.

While they won't confirm a price tag, previous birds have cost around $300 million. The latest will be built by Space Systems/Loral and will be called Anik G1 and Nimiq 6. American firm Loral is the primary owner of Telesat, having joined with a federal public service pension fund to buy the company for $3.4 billion. The G1 bird will primarily deliver direct-to-home satellite service for Shaw Communications.

The satellite industry is expected to grow rapidly in the next several years.

Gerry Nagler, director of marketing for Telesat is based in New Jersey.

"The manufacture and launch of the G1 satellite will be managed by Telesat's engineering team in Ottawa," he tells me. "Telesat's specialists will monitor all aspects of the design, integration and testing from Ottawa with regular visits to the manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, Calif."

Ottawa is also the control centre for the more than 20 satellites Telesat operates. With more than 500 employees and sales last year closing in on $800 million, there's speculation that Telesat will be the next big stock market offering. The company will also benefit from new federal rules to allow more foreign investment in telecommunications firms.

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