DirecTV Taps Arianespace for At Least Two Launches

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PARIS — U.S. satellite television provider DirecTV will launch two satellites aboard Europe’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, with the first launch in 2014, and has booked options for two other launches with the European company for satellites yet to be named, DirecTV and Arianespace announced Sept. 13.

All four satellites are expected to weigh more than 6,000 kilograms at launch.

The first launch will be of the DirecTV 14 satellite currently under construction by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif. A date for the second launch, of the DirecTV 15 spacecraft, will be announced once DirecTV has decided on which manufacturer will build it. A competition among several satellite manufacturers is ongoing.

The contract includes options to launch two more satellites for DirecTV for its DirecTV Latin America subsidiary. That company has just booked almost all the capacity on two large satellites to be built for satellite fleet operator Intelsat of Washington and Luxembourg.

Intelsat has said it will determine which rocket will launch these two spacecraft, named Intelsat 30 and Intelsat 31, both to be used mainly by DirecTV Latin America for the satellites’ full 15-year lives. Nonetheless, industry officials have said the two spacecraft might end up being the two that cover the DirecTV launch options with Evry, France-based Arianespace.

 

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