EchoStar Launches Seventh Bird


EchoStar Communications Corp. officials witnessed the successful launch of
the company's seventh direct-broadcast satellite into orbit Thursday

EchoStar VII lifted off at 7:43 a.m. following a brief delay caused by
concerns over local wind conditions at the Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch

Roughly one hour after the launch, chairman Charlie Ergen offered a few
comments, which were televised live to Dish Network subscribers.

'It was a long night, but well worth it,' Ergen said, after thanking his
partners at Lockheed Martin Corp. and International Launch Services for their
work with the satellite construction and launch.

Ergen said EchoStar would use the new bird to add more channels, to serve as
a backup in space and to launch local-into-local broadcast service in Alaska and

The new satellite is expected to go live in April following extensive

'We have a lot of work to do up in Cheyenne [Wyo.],' where the company has a
satellite-uplink facility, he added.

Lockheed and ILS are expected to help launch the EchoStar VIII satellite
later this year.