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DIRECTV Satellite Launch

DIRECTV, Inc. announced the successful launch of its new DIRECTV 12 satellite.

According to the statement, the DIRECTV 12, a Boeing 702 model satellite, lifted off on an International Launch Services Proton Breeze M vehicle at 4:22 p.m. PT December 28, 2009 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Controllers at the ground station in Hartebeesthoek, South Africa have made contact with the satellite and confirmed that all systems are functioning properly.

The new satellite will boost DIRECTV’s HD capacity by 50 percent, to more than 200 HD channels, increase the number of local HD markets DIRECTV will serve and significantly expand movie choices on the DIRECTV Cinema and DIRECTV on Demand services. DIRECTV offers more than 130 HD channels today and delivers local HD programming to 138 markets, representing 92 percent of U.S. TV households.

“With the successful launch of our DIRECTV 12 satellite, we will have the capacity to dramatically expand HD and movie choices for our customers and further extend our content and technology leadership,” said Romulo Pontual, DIRECTV’s chief technology officer. “With a robust fleet of 11 satellites, including five spacecraft delivering HD programming, advanced transmission and set-top box technology, we are able to provide our customers with an unparalleled viewing experience and maintain a significant competitive advantage for many years to come.”

DIRECTV 12, the eleventh owned-and-operated satellite in the DIRECTV fleet, will be maneuvered into a circular orbit at 102.8 degrees West longitude and when tests are completed, it is expected to begin operations early in the second quarter of next year.

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