Syncom. Anik A. SBS 3. DBS-1.
DIRECTV-4S. Though they may read like alphabet soup, these are the names of
satellites that have changed the world of communications. All were designed
and built by the Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) subsidiary of Boeing Space
and Communications, a unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA). And with the
November 26 launch of DIRECTV-4S, BSS has built and delivered 200 commercial
spacecraft for a roster of customers that spans the globe.

“Boeing Satellite Systems takes great pride in its unmatched heritage of
innovation that began nearly 40 years ago and continues with Monday’s launch
of our 200th commercial satellite, DIRECTV-4S,” said Randy Brinkley,
president of Boeing Satellite Systems. “Starting with the 1963 launch of
Syncom, Boeing has continuously provided spacecraft that have defined the
state-of-the-art in satellite communications. And as we celebrate our
accomplishments, we also offer our thanks to DIRECTV and all our other
customers all over the world, many of whom have returned again and again to
purchase Boeing-built satellites.”

More than 40 customers in 18 countries have purchased satellites built by
the heritage Hughes Space and Communications, now Boeing Satellite Systems,
and the Boeing 601 holds the distinction of being the most purchased model
in the world. More than 80 have been ordered to date.

Some of the “firsts” achieved by Boeing Satellite Systems include the

  • July 1963: Syncom, the world’s first geosynchronous communications satellite
  • November 1972: Anik A, the world’s first national domestic satellite
  • November 1982: SBS 3, the first commercial satellite orbited by the Space

  • June 1994: DBS-1, the first U.S. digital direct broadcast satellite (DBS)

  • November 2001: DIRECTV-4S, the first DBS spacecraft using spot beams to
    deliver unique programming to individual U.S. television markets.
    Syncom: The launch of Syncom began a communications revolution. Scientists
    working for Hughes Aircraft Company – later known as Hughes Space and
    Communications Company and now Boeing Satellite Systems – proved the concept
    that a satellite in Earth-synchronous orbit could communicate directly and
    continuously with any ground station in its line of sight, using fixed
    antennas. This opened the door to instant global communications.

Anik A: November 1972 brought the first of a series of geosynchronous
communications satellites the company developed for individual nations to
use within their territorial boundaries. Three Anik A satellites were built
for Telesat Canada. Anik A became the world’s first national domestic
satellite and also showcased a new antenna technology – the shaped beam.
Earlier communications satellites broadcast their signals to the entire
globe, including oceans and landmasses incapable of using the signal. But
the signal beam on Anik A was shaped only to cover Canada, the second
largest country in the world.

SBS 3: An early version of the Boeing 376 design, SBS 3 entered the history
books on November 11, 1982, when it became the first commercial satellite to
be placed in space by NASA’s Space Shuttle during its premier commercial
flight. The satellite was one of a series the company built for Satellite
Business Systems that were jointly owned by subsidiaries of IBM, Comsat
General Corporation, and Aetna Life and Casualty. The satellites were
designed to provide private business communication services to large U.S.

DBS-1: The June 1994 launch of DIRECTV® service began the digital television
revolution in the United States. A trio of Boeing 601 spacecraft originally
known as DBS 1, 2, and 3 (now called DIRECTV-1, DIRECTV-2 and DIRECTV-3)
made up the initial space segment of DIRECTV, the country’s first digital
direct-broadcast satellite television service using high-power satellites to
transmit hundreds of channels of programming to subscribers via small (18-in
ch) receiving dishes.

DIRECTV-4S: More than seven years and nearly 10 million subscribers after
its service launch, the DIRECTV satellite fleet will soon include its first
spot beam spacecraft, DIRECTV-4S. The Boeing 601HP satellite will
dramatically expand the DIRECTV channel capacity through the use of spot
beams that reuse frequencies in highly focused beams aimed directly at the
major television markets where DIRECTV delivers the signals of local network

Boeing Satellite Systems’ 200 satellites include numerous other firsts in a
string of technology achievements. These included being first to market with
such breakthroughs as multi-junction gallium arsenide solar cells and ion
propulsion as well as microprocessors that give spacecraft large-scale
digital signal processors more power than thousands of earth-bound

In all, spacecraft built by Boeing Satellite Systems have provided more than
1,400 years of cumulative on-orbit service to customers worldwide. Today
Boeing Satellite Systems continues to hold the largest share of the
satellite market, with a backlog of 39 satellites valued at more than $4.2

Boeing Space and Communications is the world’s leading manufacturer of
commercial communications satellites, and is also a major provider of space
systems, satellites, and payloads for national defense, science and
environmental applications.

The Boeing Company is the largest aerospace company in the world and the
United States’ leading exporter. It is NASA’s largest contractor and the
largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft. The
company’s capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft, electronic and
defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch vehicles, satellites, and
advanced information and communication systems. The company has an extensive
global reach with customers in 145 countries.

Media contacts:

Diana Ball, 310-662-7473

Anne Eisele, 562-797-1022