Encyclopedia Astronautica
DirecTV


DirecTV Incorporated began broadcast of satellite-to-home direct television services in mid-1994. Originally a subsidiary of Hughes Communications, the company faced as competitors the similar Primestar and USSB services, as well as older C-band satellite services and cable TV companies. By 2007 it had become the most successful American direct-broadcast television service.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • FS-1300 American communications satellite bus. Operational, first launch 1989.06.05. More...
  • HS 601 American communications satellite bus. First launch 1990.01.09. 3-axis unified ARC 22 N and one Marquardt 490 N bipropellant thrusters, Sun and Barnes Earth sensors and two 61 Nms 2-axis gimbaled momentum bias wheels. More...
  • HS 702 American communications satellite bus. Operational, first launched 1999.12.22. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Ariane 44LP French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 2 liquid rocket + 2 solid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Ariane 44L French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 4 liquid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Ariane 42P French orbital launch vehicle. Ariane 4 with 2 solid rocket strap-ons. More...
  • Atlas IIA American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas IIA was a commercial derivative of the Atlas II developed for the US Air Force. Higher performance RL10A-4 (or RL10A-4-1) engines replaced Atlas II's RL10A-3-3A engines. More...
  • Proton-K/DM-2M This four stage version uses the Block DM-2M / 11S861-01 upper stage, which has its own self-contained guidance unit. This reduces payload but does not require the spacecraft's guidance system to provide steering commands to booster. Used for launches of Russian geosynchronous satellites from 1994 on. More...
  • Zenit-3SL Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. From the beginning of the program a Zenit-3 version was proposed for geosynchronous launches using the N1/Proton Block D third stage. This had the potential of replacing the Proton in the role of geosynchronous launcher. It was considered for launch from Australia / Cape York in the 1980's. Finally a joint US-Norwegian-Ukraininan-Russian consortium was formed to launch the three stage commercial Zenit from the Odyssey floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean. More...
  • Proton/Briz M Improved Proton orbital launch vehicle. Improvements in lower stages to reduce structural mass, increase thrust, and fully utilize propellants (reducing release of toxic chemicals in stage impact areas). Briz M storable propellant upper stage replaces Block D cyrogenic stage. More...
  • Ariane 5ECA French orbital launch vehicle, first version of the evolved Ariane 5. The solid booster motors propellant load was increased by 2.43 tonnes and the case was welded, for a weight saving in dry mass of 1.9 tonnes. The core was powered by an improved Vulcain 2 engine. The oxygen-rich cycle of the engine allowed the oxygen bulkhead to be moved within the stage, resulting in a 15.2 tonne increase in propellant in the core. A new Lox/LH2 upper stage, using the HM7B engine and oxygen tank from the Ariane 4 series, replaced the storable propellant EPS stage of earlier models. The result was an increase in payload to geoscynchronous transfer orbit from 6 tonnes to 10.5 tonnes. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Palo Alto American manufacturer of rockets. Palo Alto, Palo Alto, California, USA. More...
  • Boeing American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Aerospace, Seattle, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...
  • Kourou After the agreement with newly independent Algeria for France to evacuate their launch sites in that country, a location near Biscarosse was selected for French missile testing. However since only launches westwards across the Bay of Biscay could be made from this site, it was unsuitable for France's Diamant orbital launch vehicle. After reviewing 14 potential sites, a location in the South American French colony of Guiana was selected. This would allow over-water launches to a tremendous range of possible orbital inclinations -- from -100.5 deg to 1.5 deg. Being near the equator, it would provide the maximum assist from the earth's rotation for launches into equatorial orbits. The decision was formalized in April 1964 and in July 1966 ELDO chose the site for future launches of the Europa II launch vehicle. More...
  • Kiritimati Kiritimati (Christmas Island) in the Pacific Ocean was originally selected by Von Braun in his Collier magazine series of the early 1950's as an ideal equatorial launch site. A half century later, Boeing Sea Launch used an offshore location for orbital launches. The launch platform was a seagoing converted Norwegian offshore oil rig. Between missions it was berthed in Long Beach, California. It was towed to a location off Kiritimati for launches of the Ukrainian Zenit-3 launch vehicle. More...

DirecTV Chronology


1993 December 18 - . 01:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44L. LV Configuration: Ariane 44L+ V62.
  • DBS 1 - . Mass: 2,860 kg (6,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 22930 . COSPAR: 1993-078A. Apogee: 35,798 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,775 km (22,229 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Stationed at 101.2 deg W. DirecTV, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hughes Communications and offers commercial satellite television service to the US. The orbital part of the system consists of 3 Hughes-built geosynchronous satellites. Broadcast services began in mid-1994. Competitors include the similar Primestar and USSB services, as well as older C-band satellite services and cable TV companies. Spacecraft: DirecTV uses the Hughes HS-601 spacecraft design.3-Axis stabilised, zero momentum biased control system. Two solar arrays (4 panels each side) span 31 meters and generate 4.3 kW power. Payload: The 2.5 m diameter graphite transmit reflector performs beam shaping.16 x 120 watt Ka-Band (12.2 - 12.7 GHz) transponders with 48-53 dBw EIRP and 24 MHz bandwidth. Power is higher in areas with heavy rain. The high power combined with Reed Solomon error correction coding allow the use of small 18 inch antennas by customers.
    Financial/Operational:
    FCC approved Direct Broadcast Satellites in 1986. By 1997 DirecTV had 2.6 million of 5.0 million US direct broadcast television subscribers. Direct Broadcast Satellites cost $ 175 million each and have 150 video channels. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 101 deg W in 1994-1999; 110 deg W in 1999-2000 As of 6 September 2001 located at 109.78 deg W drifting at 0.004 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 72.51W drifting at 0.011W degrees per day.

1994 August 3 - . 23:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIA. LV Configuration: Atlas IIA AC-107 / Centaur II 8107.
  • DBS 2 - . Mass: 2,860 kg (6,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 23192 . COSPAR: 1994-047A. Apogee: 35,797 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,776 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0100 deg. Period: 1,436.11 min. Commercial TV broadcast. Stationed at 100.79 deg W. Launch vehicle put payload into supersynchronous earth orbit with MRS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 101 deg W in 1994-1999 As of 5 September 2001 located at 100.81 deg W drifting at 0.010 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 91.17W drifting at 0.006W degrees per day.

1995 June 10 - . 00:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 42P. LV Configuration: Ariane 42P-3 V74.
  • DBS 3 - . Mass: 2,934 kg (6,468 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 23598 . COSPAR: 1995-029A. Apogee: 35,789 km (22,238 mi). Perigee: 35,784 km (22,235 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Commercial TV. Stationed at 101.0 deg W. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 101 deg W in 1995-1999 As of 5 September 2001 located at 100.90 deg W drifting at 0.012 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 82.00W drifting at 0.004W degrees per day..

1999 October 10 - . 03:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiritimati. Launch Pad: 0.0 N x 154.0 W. Launch Platform: ODYSSEY. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-3SL.
  • DirecTV 1R - . Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601 . USAF Sat Cat: 25937 . COSPAR: 1999-056A. Apogee: 35,798 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,774 km (22,228 mi). Inclination: 0.1000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Second successful Zenit-3SL flight from the Odyssey launch platform in the Pacific Ocean at 154 deg W, 0 deg N. First flight to carry a commercial payload. The satellite used its R-4D apogee engine to enter geostationary orbit at 81.6 deg W. Finally stationed at 101 deg W. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 81 deg W in 1999. As of 5 September 2001 located at 101.19 deg W drifting at 0.004 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 100.87W drifting at 0.007W degrees per day.

2001 November 27 - . 00:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA2. LV Family: Ariane. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44LP. LV Configuration: Ariane 44LP-3 V146.
  • DirecTV 4S - . Mass: 4,245 kg (9,358 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 26985 . COSPAR: 2001-052A. Apogee: 35,793 km (22,240 mi). Perigee: 35,780 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. The DirecTV-4S television broadcasting satellite was placed by the Ariane 44LP booster into a geostationary transfer orbit. The satellite had a dry mass of 2100 kg and a launch mass of 4300 kg. The satellite was to provide more than 300 local TV channels to 41 metropolitan communities through its 11 C-band transponders after parking over 101-W longitude. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 101.14W drifting at 0.005W degrees per day.

2002 May 7 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/DM-2M. LV Configuration: Proton-K/DM-2M (DM3) 404-02.
  • DirecTV-5 - . Payload: Tempo 1. Mass: 3,640 kg (8,020 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: Palo Alto. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: FS-1300. USAF Sat Cat: 27426 . COSPAR: 2002-023A. Apogee: 35,799 km (22,244 mi). Perigee: 35,774 km (22,228 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Direct Broadcasting satellite. Launch delayed from October 2000, February, May 21 and October19, 2001, as the user and launch provider moved the payload from Proton to Atlas 2AS and then back again to Proton. The DM3 upper stage made two burns to put the DirecTV satellite in a 6568 x 35809 km x 17.7 deg transfer orbit. The Loral FS-1300 class satellite used its R-4D apogee engine to reach geostationary orbit at 129 W by May 19. The DirecTV satellite broadcasting company was a subsidiary of GM/Hughes. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 110.11W drifting at 0.004W degrees per day.

2004 May 4 - . 12:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiritimati. Launch Pad: 0.0 N x 154.0 W. Launch Platform: ODYSSEY. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-3SL.
  • DirecTV 7S - . Mass: 5,483 kg (12,087 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: Palo Alto. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: FS-1300. USAF Sat Cat: 28238 . COSPAR: 2004-016A. Apogee: 35,792 km (22,240 mi). Perigee: 35,730 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,434.80 min. Summary: Delayed from February 29, May 2. Transferred from Ariane 5 under launch backup agreement. Record single payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 119.04W drifting at 0.000E degrees per day..

2005 April 26 - . 07:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiritimati. Launch Pad: 0.0 N x 154.0 W. Launch Platform: ODYSSEY. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-3SL. LV Configuration: Zenit-3SL 15.
  • Spaceway 1 - . Mass: 6,080 kg (13,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 702. USAF Sat Cat: 28644 . COSPAR: 2005-015A. Apogee: 35,789 km (22,238 mi). Perigee: 35,785 km (22,235 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Heaviest single payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit to that date. Carried 48 high-frequency Ka-band transponders for data transmission and television broadcasting. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 102.80W drifting at 0.005W degrees per day..

2005 May 22 - . 17:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton/Briz M. LV Configuration: Proton M s/n 53510 / Breeze M s/n 88512.
  • DirecTV-8 - . Mass: 3,711 kg (8,181 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: Palo Alto. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: FS-1300. USAF Sat Cat: 28659 . COSPAR: 2005-019A. Apogee: 35,842 km (22,271 mi). Perigee: 35,711 km (22,189 mi). Inclination: 0.1000 deg. Period: 1,435.60 min. Provided United States direct-television broadcast coverage from the 101 degrees West longitude orbital slot. The satellite carried 16 high-power transponders for high-quality national digital video services. Purchased in October 2003 together with DirecTV-9S for a total price of $220 million for both. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 100.77W drifting at 0.002W degrees per day.

2005 November 16 - . 23:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA. LV Configuration: Ariane 5 EC-A V167.
  • Spaceway 2 - . Mass: 6,116 kg (13,483 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 702. USAF Sat Cat: 28903 . COSPAR: 2005-046B. Apogee: 35,788 km (22,237 mi). Perigee: 35,785 km (22,235 mi). Period: 1,436.10 min. Heaviest total commercial GTO payload to that date. Qualification flight for the Ariane 5 EC-A version. Launch delayed from June 25 due to launch vehicle problems. Spaceway 2 launch delayed from April for problems with the satellite. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 99.24W drifting at 0.010W degrees per day.

2006 October 13 - . 20:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA. LV Configuration: Ariane 5ECA V173 (533).
  • DirecTV 9S - . Mass: 8,180 kg (18,030 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: Palo Alto. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: FS-1300. USAF Sat Cat: 29494 . COSPAR: 2006-043A. Apogee: 35,798 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,774 km (22,228 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Addition to DirecTV's direct broadcast television constellation. Carried 52 high-power Ku-band transponders and 2 Ka-band transponders. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 101.13W drifting at 0.009W degrees per day..

2007 July 7 - . 01:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton/Briz M. LV Configuration: Proton-M/Briz-M 535-20 (17?).
  • DirecTV-10 - . Mass: 5,893 kg (12,991 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: Boeing. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 702. USAF Sat Cat: 31862 . COSPAR: 2007-032A. Apogee: 35,787 km (22,236 mi). Perigee: 35,786 km (22,236 mi). Inclination: 0.0100 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. First launch of a pair of satellites, DirecTV 10 and 11, that will beam HDTV programs to 500 local markets from the company's primary orbital slot at 101 degrees west longitude. Acquisition and launch cost of $300 million per satellite; one ground spare also built.

2007 August 14 - . 23:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5ECA. LV Configuration: Ariane 5ECA V177 (537).
  • Spaceway 3 - . Mass: 6,075 kg (13,393 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Hughes. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 702. USAF Sat Cat: 32018 . COSPAR: 2007-036A. Apogee: 35,788 km (22,237 mi). Perigee: 35,786 km (22,236 mi). Inclination: 0.0200 deg. Period: 1,436.12 min. Summary: Satellite launched for Hughes Network Systems, with a Ka-band payload for space-based internet. Mass 3655 kg dry..

2008 March 19 - . 22:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiritimati. Launch Pad: 0.0 N x 154.0 W. Launch Platform: ODYSSEY. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-3SL. LV Configuration: Zenit-3SL s/n SL32.
  • DirecTV 11 - . Mass: 5,920 kg (13,050 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DirecTV. Manufacturer: Boeing. Program: DirecTV. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 702. USAF Sat Cat: 32729 . COSPAR: 2008-013A. Apogee: 35,788 km (22,237 mi). Perigee: 35,787 km (22,236 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Placed in orbital slot 99.2 W Longitude. In combination with DirecTV 10, the satellite would allow the parent company to direct broadcast local HDTV to 90 percent of its customers in North America. The Ka-band satellite was equipped with 28 active and 8 spare TWTAs for direct broadcast to the continental United States and Alaska; 4 active and 4 spare for broadcast to the 48 stages and Hawaii; and 55 active and 15 spares for spot transmissions. Total power was 18 kW / 16 kW at beginning/end of life. Propulsion was provided by 445 N liquid apogee engine and four XIPS 35-cm ion thrusters. Mass at launch was 6060 kg and 3700 kg after on-board propellants were consumed to place the satellite in its operational geosynchronous orbit.

2009 December 29 - . 00:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton/Briz M.
  • DirecTV-12 - . Mass: 5,900 kg (13,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ILS. Program: DirecTV. Spacecraft: HS 702. USAF Sat Cat: 36131 . COSPAR: 2009-075A. Apogee: 37,150 km (23,080 mi). Perigee: 34,409 km (21,380 mi). Inclination: 0.1000 deg. Period: 1,435.70 min. Summary: Direct television broadcast to United States..

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