New satellites give major boost to DirecTV HD, 4KTV capacity

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 28 May 2015

After notable failed satellite missions elsewhere, DirecTV is reporting the successful launch of two spacecraft that it says will significantly increase HD capacity, secure the future of 4K/Ultra HD and back up its existing fleet.

Launched on a single ARIANE 5 launch vehicle operated by Arianespace from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, the two new craft comprise DIRECTV-15 (D-15), an all-CONUS (Continental United States, including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico) beam satellite, and SKY MEXICO-1 (SKYM-1), SKY MEXICO's first owned-and-operated satellite.

Positioned at 103 West and operational for the next 15 years, D-15 represents DirecTV's first offering with the capability to operate in all five of the company's orbital slots and in all frequency bands (Ku, Ka and Reverse). It is the first all-CONUS beam DirecTV satellite to launch in ten years, and will expand national capacity for not only HDTV services but also emerging 4K/Ultra HD channels as they come on-stream in a country crucial to its development. It will also provide critical back-up for existing CONUS transponders.

Operating from 79 West and adding to the IS-21 satellite capabilities at 58 West, SKYM-1 will double HDTV capacity for SKY MEXICO, claimed to be the leading company in the Mexican pay-TV market. The craft has a stated life span of more than 18 years and will provide direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast services to Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Caribbean.

"We congratulate the launch team and our partners, Arianespace, Airbus Defence and Space, and Orbital ATK on a spectacular and historic launch," said DirecTV senior vice president, space and communications, Phil Goswitz. "D-15, the most versatile spacecraft in the fleet and the robust SKYM-1, secure DIRECTV's ability to continue delivering the best video experience with the most advanced technology."