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DirecTV 8 Satellite Launched, Spaceway F2 Readied for Launch

An International Launch Services Russian-built Proton launch vehicle placed the DirecTV 8 satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit May 22 nine hours after a 10:59 a.m. PDT launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Over the next two weeks, controllers will move the satellite into a circular orbit, deploy antennas and solar arrays and test the satellite's communications payload and propulsion system. After testing, the Ku/Ka-band hybrid satellite will be positioned at 101 degrees West Longitude, replacing an older DirecTV satellite, and support the DirecTV roll out of local digital and HDTV channels in major markets later this year.

Chase Carey, president and CEO of DirecTV congratulated the launch teams from Space Systems/Loral and ILS. "New satellites like DirecTV 8 and the recently launched Spaceway F1, enable us to continue to build on our leadership position and roll out additional new products and services for our customers, and take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace, including the growing demand for HD and interactive services."

Spaceway F2 satellite has arrived at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana and is undergoing preparation for launch next month, according to DirecTV. Spaceway F2 will be positioned at 99.2 degrees West Longitude and will be used to transmit local digital and HDTV signals via Ka-band spot beams to consumers later this year.

The DirecTV 8 satellite was built by Space Systems-Loral. Spaceway F2 is a Boeing 702 satellite.