Proton Launches DirecTV 12 To Boost U.S. HDTV Offering

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An International Launch Services (ILS) Proton Breeze-M rocket successfully launched the Ka-band DirecTV 12 television broadcasting satellite Dec. 29, 2009, from the BaikonurCosmodrome in Kazakhstan, ILS announced.

DirecTV 12, a Boeing 702 model satellite weighing more than 5.9 metric tons, reached geostationary-transfer orbit 9 hours and 10 minutes after a 6:22 a.m. liftoff. Boeing Satellite Systems of El Segundo, Calif., announced Dec. 29 that DirecTV 12 had sent its first signal from orbit and was in good health.

The satellite will provide additional high-definition and other digital local and national channels in the United States for El Segundo-based DirecTV. The launch was the seventh and final mission of the year for ILS of McLean, Va., which markets the Russian-built Proton commercially.