03.24.2008 08:35 AM
HD satellite fails for Dish Network

A satellite to be used for HD transmissions by the Dish Network failed to reach orbit. The Ku-band satellite was launched from Kazakhstan last week.

The AMC-14 satellite — owned by SES Americom and under contract to EchoStar — launched normally from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Proton rocket. But the Lockheed Martin-built satellite failed to reach its planned orbit, according to a statement from launch vendor International Launch Services

An investigation continues into what went wrong. However, regardless of the reason for the launch failure, the loss of the satellite casts significant doubt on Dish Network’s plan to expand from its existing 50 HD channels to 70-100 in order to better compete with DIRECTV.

Industry analysts said due to the long lead times involved in contracting for, building, and launching a satellite, it could take years for Dish Network to fully recover.

Dish has two more satellites slated for launch later this year, but they were intended to increase local HD services using spot-beam technology.

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