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New satellite launch provides HD service upgrade for DIRECTV

DIRECTV, the direct-to-home satellite provider, declared DIRECTV 12, its newest satellite, a success. The new satellite is expected to boost DIRECTV’s HD capacity by 50 percent when it goes into service in the second quarter of 2010.

The Boeing 702 satellite lifted off on an International Launch Services Proton Breeze M vehicle on Dec. 28 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Ground station controllers in South Africa made contact with the satellite and confirmed that all systems are functioning properly.

DIRECTV 12 is the eleventh owned-and-operated satellite in the company’s fleet, and will be maneuvered into a circular orbit at 102.8 degrees west longitude. It will join four other birds that already deliver HD programming, allowing the pay-TV operator to deliver over 200 HD channels, compared with just over 130 today.