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DirecTV Local HD Channels Satellite Launched

DirecTV announced (opens in new tab) it has successfully launched Spaceway F1, a Boeing 702 model satellite, on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform. The satellite will be used to broadcast local HDTV channels into the largest markets in the United States. DirecTV 10 will join the Spaceway F1 Ka-band satellite later this year.

"With Spaceway F1's successful launch today, we enter a new era that will see the most dramatic programming rollout in our history with plans to offer local digital and HD programming to every U.S. household. We thank the Boeing and Sea Launch teams, who did a magnificent job in preparing for and executing a flawless launch that will ultimately benefit our DirecTV customers, DirecTV," said Chase Carey, president and CEO of DirecTV.

DirecTV reported that controllers at a ground station in South Africa have made contact with the satellite and all systems are functioning properly. Once the satellite commissioning is completed at 102.8 degrees West Longitude, DirecTV expects to begin offering services from the satellite this fall. The first group of markets to receive local HD channels from Spaceway F1 includes New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Tampa, representing 32.8 percent of all U.S. TV households.