Television

Echostar IX/Telstar 13 multi-band satellite launched

NEW YORK: EchoStar IX/Telstar 13, a powerful multi-band satellite built for EchoStar Communications Corporation and Loral Skynet by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), was successfully launched. The satellite, to be positioned at 121 degrees West longitude, was sent into space from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned on the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket.

A spacedaily report says that as part of a unique satellite sharing arrangement, EchoStar will operate the Ku- and Ka-band payloads as EchoStar IX; Loral Skynet, a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications, will initially own and operate the C-band payload as Telstar 13.

The report also adds that in July, Loral reached a definitive agreement to sell Telstar 13, along with five other North American telecommunications satellites to Intelsat, Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda.

EchoStar IX will join EchoStar's current fleet of eight satellites that provide DISH Network customers with hundreds of all-digital television channels, including interactive TV services, sports programming, high definition television and international programming. The spacecraft's Ku-band fixed satellite services (FSS) transponders are designed to enhance EchoStar's current US DISH Network satellite TV service.

The report also adds that the spacecraft is also equipped with the first US commercial Ka-band spot-beam payloads. The successful launch of EchoStar IX brings EchoStar's fleet to nine satellites, including three satellites previously built by SS/L.

Telstar 13's 24 C-band FSS transponders operating at 36 Mhz will provide Skynet's cable programming customers with coverage throughout North America, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Skynet's current satellite serving cable programmers, Telstar 7, is operating nearby at 127 degrees West longitude. Together the satellites form a very attractive platform to cable programmers looking for the benefits of a strong neighborhood and restoration solutions.

"Building this satellite has been a tremendous success for all parties involved," says SS/L president and COO Patrick DeWitt. "Our close relationships with EchoStar and Skynet have been an important part of SS/L's success, and our shared commitment to quality remains our top priority," Dewitt adds.

Built at Space Systems/Loral's Palo Alto, California facility, EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 is based on SS/L's space-proven 1300 geostationary satellite platform, which has an excellent record of reliable operation.

The 1300 is designed to achieve a long life, in this case 15 years, excellent station-keeping and orbital stability by using bipropellant propulsion and momentum-bias attitude control systems. A system of high-efficiency solar arrays and batteries provide uninterrupted electrical power. In all, SS/L satellites have amassed nearly 1,000 years of on-orbit service.

After this transaction, Loral Skynet will continue to operate an integrated fixed satellite and network services business using its fleet of five telecommunications satellites and its established VSAT/fiber global network infrastructure.

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