Satellite to Provide Back-Up and Ensure Continued Quality and Availability of Services; Expands DIRECTV Fleet to Nine Spacecraft
DIRECTV continued to fortify its satellite fleet with the successful launch today of DIRECTV 9S, a high-powered, spot-beam satellite that will provide back-up capacity and ensure continuous, reliable service for DIRECTV customers. The spacecraft was successfully launched today at 1:56 p.m. PT from Europe’s Spaceport in Kouou, French Guiana.
DIRECTV 9S is one of four satellites DIRECTV has launched over the past two years as it continues to expand its capacity to provide new national and local services in both standard- and high-definition, as well as interactive and original programming. DIRECTV will launch two more satellites next year that will more than quadruple its capacity and enable it to lead the industry in the delivery of HD programming.
The Space Systems/Loral-built satellite will be positioned at the 101-degree West longitude orbital slot, providing back-up capacity for the DIRECTV fleet, including spot-beam satellites that deliver standard definition local services. DIRECTV offers local channels in 142 markets, representing 94 percent of U.S. TV households.
DIRECTV 9S was launched aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket and after 26 minutes, the rocket left the spacecraft in a geosynchronous transfer orbit with a high point of 22,300 miles (36,000 km) above the equator. Controllers at the Hartebeesthoek ground station in South Africa made contact with the satellite and confirmed that all systems are functioning properly.
“We congratulate the launch team on the flawless lift off of DIRECTV 9S, the ninth satellite in our fleet,” said Phil Goswitz, vice president, Space & Communications, DIRECTV, Inc. “DIRECTV 9S will ensure that we have the needed capacity and flexibility to provide the breadth and quality of services that our customers have come to expect. We are committed to maintaining our near perfect 99.96% signal availability for our customers.”
In the coming weeks, controllers will maneuver the spacecraft into a circular orbit; deploy the antennas and solar arrays; and test operational functions, communications payload and propulsion system.
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, as well as other advanced programming services for its customers.
About DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc., the nation’s leading satellite television service provider, presents the finest television experience available to more than 15.5 million customers through exclusive content, industry-leading customer service (which has surpassed cable for six years running) and superior technologies. Each day, DIRECTV subscribers enjoy over 250 channels of 100% digital picture and sound; exclusive programming and the most comprehensive collection of sports programming available anywhere including NFL SUNDAY TICKET, and MLB EXTRA INNINGS. DIRECTV (NYSE:DTV) also leads the digital television technology revolution with exclusives such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET SuperFan, US Open Interactive and YES Network Interactive and will soon have the capacity to offer over 150 channels in HD. DIRECTV is approximately 39 percent owned by News Corporation. For the most up-to-date information on the Company, please visit www.directv.com.