Loral to Build Two New Satellites for DirecTV

DirecTV has authorized Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) to begin design and construction of two new satellites -- DIRECTV 8 and DIRECTV 9S -- for delivery in the first half of 2005.

DIRECTV 8 will provide national coverage from 101 degrees West Longitude, but it will have the capability of operating from DirecTV's other orbital locations at 110 and 119 degrees West Longitude. It will have 16 high power transponders.

DIRECTV 9S is designed as a backup for DirecTV's 4S and 7S satellites and will be capable of operating at either 101 degrees or 119 degrees West Longitude with up to 54 transponders broadcast into 27 beams or 44 transponders broadcast into 30 beams for local and national digital video service.

Both satellites are based on SS/L's 1300 satellite platform. According to the Space Systems Loral Press Release, once these two satellites are complete Loral will have manufactured more than half of the satellites in DirecTV's fleet.

Loral Space and Communications chairman and CEO Bernard L. Schwartz said, "DirecTV's award represents Loral's second and third orders for commercial satellite construction this year and a total of 14 for the industry -- a positive indicator of a resurgence in satellite manufacturing sales. For Loral, the orders are a significant step forward in the execution of our business plan under the reorganization process. As satellite operators resume their normal procurement patterns, we believe SS/L will benefit as the preferred provider of the most advanced and most reliable commercial communications satellites available anywhere. We are most appreciative of DirecTV's confidence in SS/L's ability to provide state-of-the-art satellites for its mission critical applications."