Arianespace announced today that it has secured a first quarter 2004 launch slot with Sea Launch for the DIRECTV 7S satellite. Arianespace was able to provide DIRECTV with total mission assurance for the DIRECTV 7S launch through a cooperative agreement with Boeing Launch Services and Sea Launch Company, LLC, under the newly formed launch services alliance. Announced in July 2003, the launch services alliance utilizes launch systems from three leading service provider
s – Arianespace, Boeing Launch Services and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – to provide customers with on-time launches and total mission assurance.

Delays in the satellite manufacturing process created a scheduling conflict with a dedicated scientific mission on the Arianespace launch manifest. The DIRECTV 7S satellite is a high priority launch for DIRECTV as the spot-beam spacecraft is slated to serve 60 local television markets across the United States. The creation of the launch services alliance allowed Arianespace to negotiate a seamless transfer of the satellite to Sea Launch, and for DIRECTV to secure a guaranteed launch slot for this important

“The smooth transition to the Sea Launch platform, assured by Arianespace and its launch services partners, will enable DIRECTV to launch DIRECTV 7S in the mid-to-late first quarter of next year, which is critical to our roll out of additional local channel markets,” said Jim Butterworth, senior vice president, Communications Systems, DIRECTV, Inc.

“The DIRECTV 7S situation demonstrates our complete commitment to customer service and the added benefit to our customers of the launch services alliance,” said Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall.

The launch services alliance will allow customers securing new contracts to ensure on-time launches with the three providers from the outset of a campaign providing dual or triple integration and dedicated launch slots. The unique offering provides satellite operators with unmatched mission assurance and customer service from the world’s leading launch services providers.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the leading global commercial launch services provider serving primarily commercial satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 250 satellite payloads. For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at


DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital multichannel television service provider with more than 11.8 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp. Hughes Electronics Corporation, a unit of General Motors Corporation, is a world-leading provider of digital television entertainment, broadband satellite networks and services, and global video and data broadcasting. The earnings of HUGHES are used to calculate the ear
nings attributable to the General Motors Class H common stock (NYSE:GMH).

About the launch services alliance

Created in July 2003, the launch services alliance combines the strengths of the world’s leading commercial launch providers Arianespace, Boeing Launch Services and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to provide customers with flexible, reliable and on-time delivery to orbit.