On its fourth launch of the year, the second with Ariane 5, Arianespace successfully launched two direct TV broadcast satellites for high definition and 4K ultra high definition services: DIRECTV 15, for the operator DIRECTV, and SKYM-1 for the operator SKY Mexico, a new customer part of DIRECTV Group, serving the Latin American market.
Arianespace’s fourth launch of the year took place today at 06:16 pm local time from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

The second Ariane 5 mission of the year reflects the ongoing confidence of major operators in the exceptional performance and reliability of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle in the Arianespace family.

Dedicated to HD and 4K Ultra HD services for the Americas

Built by Airbus Defence and Space, DIRECTV 15 is the most powerful direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcast satellite in the United States. It will offer new 4K ultra-high definition direct TV broadcast services to customers in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Built by Orbital ATK, SKYM-1 is a direct TV broadcast satellite for SKY Mexico, member of the DIRECTV family, the leading provider of pay television services in Mexico. SKYM-1 will provide high-definition DTH services for Mexico, Central America and the Carribbean. It offers a design life in orbit of 15 years.

Twenty-two years ago, Arianespace launched the first DIRECTV satellite, DBS-1. The satellites launched today, DIRECTV 15 and SKYM-1, are the eighth and ninth satellites launched by Arianespace for DIRECTV. Arianespace has one more DIRECTV satellite to be launched, SKY Brasil-1.

Arianespace a leader in the U.S. launch services market

With this latest launch for operators based in the Americas, Arianespace consolidates its leadership in the U.S., based on:

– 82 geostationary and 69 non-geostationary satellites launched for U.S. operators and U.S. customers.
– 169 satellites launched by Arianespace were built in the U.S.
– 70% market share for Arianespace of the commercial geostationary satellites to be launched for U.S. operators.

Mission facts & figures

– 65th successful Ariane 5 mission in a row
– 508th and 509th satellites launched by Arianespace
– 264th launch by the Arianespace family of launchers.

Shortly after the announcement that the two satellites had been injected into orbit, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “Arianespace is very proud of having orbited two DTH satellites this evening, on our fourth mission of the year, for operators and customers in the Americas.

“I would like to thank our customers, DIRECTV for their continued confidence after the successful launches of DLA-1 and DIRECTV-14 in 2014, and SKY Mexico, member of the DIRECTV family, which entrusted us and Ariane 5 with the launch of its first satellite. Congratulations as well to the two satellite manufacturers, Airbus Defence and Space for DIRECTV 15 and Orbital ATK for SKYM-1.

“And of course I would like to thank all European companies who contribute to the production of this remarkable launch vehicle, under the direction of our prime Airbus Safran Launchers. Thanks to ESA, contracting authority for the Ariane program, and French space agency CNES, as well as all companies and teams operating at the Guiana Space Center, who worked so hard to ensure this 65th consecutive launch success of Ariane 5. I would also like to congratulate the Arianespace’s teams, whose commitment and professionalism have allowed us to extend the successes of 2014 into 2015.”