Boeing Defense, Space & Security2008-03-25 11:31:18

Boeing DIRECTV 11 Satellite Receives 1st Signal

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has received the first on-orbit signals from its DIRECTV 11 satellite, indicating that the satellite is healthy and operating normally. A ground station in Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, reported spacecraft acquisition at 1:44 a.m. Eastern time, as scheduled.

The newest satellite for DIRECTV Inc. was launched on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket on March 19 from Sea Launch's equatorial launch site in the Pacific Ocean.

"The successful launch of DIRECTV 11 marks another milestone in the evolution of DIRECTV as the leading satellite TV service and provider of high-definition programming," said Rômulo Pontual, DIRECTV's chief technology officer. "Through our long collaboration with Boeing and our commitment to deploying the most advanced technology, we are in the best competitive position to meet the growing demand for high-definition services and provide the most compelling viewing experience for our more than 16.8 million customers."

DIRECTV 11 is a Boeing 702 satellite with onboard technology that will enable DIRECTV to continue expanding its industry-leading lineup of quality High-Definition Television (HDTV) programming to its U.S. customers. DIRECTV 11, together with the DIRECTV 10 satellite launched last year, will provide DIRECTV with the capacity for 150 national HDTV channels and 1,500 local channels.

"Boeing and DIRECTV are celebrating 15 years of collaboration, and I cannot think of a better way to mark this occasion than with the successful delivery, launch and signal acquisition of the ninth satellite we've built for DIRECTV," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "We've come a long way since Boeing's first DIRECTV satellite, and we remain committed to their success as we work to deliver the next in the series of HDTV satellites."

DIRECTV 1, launched in 1993, boasted a solar wingspan of 86 feet and an innovative graphite-antenna system featuring transmit and receive reflectors with a contoured surface that required only one feedhorn antenna to provide an optimal signal. Today's DIRECTV 11 has a wingspan measuring more than 157 feet and supplements its antenna system with spot-beam technology capable of concentrating the broadcast signal to specific markets.

DIRECTV 11 is the second of three next-generation Boeing-built satellites that are helping to expand DIRECTV's market by providing technology that brings the crystal-clear sharpness of satellite-delivered HDTV into millions of households.

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