Tuesday, October 10, 2006

DIRECTV 9S Satellite Successfully Launched

DIRECTV's latest hybrid Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) was successfully launched aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. DIRECTV 9S, which was built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), carries 52 high-power Ku-band transponders and 2 Ka-band transponders. The satellite, a version of SS/L's space-proven 1300 satellite platform tailored for DIRECTV's payload requirements, is similar to DIRECTV 7S, launched in May 2004, with the addition of two Ka-band transponders.

DIRECTV 9S is one of four satellites DIRECTV has launched over the past two years. The next scheduled satellite launches for DIRECTV are DIRECTV 10 and DIRECTV 11 in 2007. The two satellites will provide DIRECTV with the capacity to offer more than 150 national HD channels and more than 1,500 local HD channels.

Earlier this month, DIRECTV confirmed plans to offer local HD broadcast networks in 67 markets, representing approximately 74 percent of U.S. TV households, by year end when it rolls out 25 more local HD markets in the fourth quarter. DIRECTV currently offers standard-definition local channels in 142 markets, covering nearly 94 percent of television households in the country, as well as 42 HD local channel markets representing approximately 62 percent of U.S. TV households.


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