EchoStar Corp. said the EchoStar XVI satellite built by Space Systems/Loral was successfully launched and placed into geostationary transfer orbit by International Launch Services.
The ILS Proton Breeze M rocket lifted off Nov. 21 at 12:31 a.m. local time (Nov 20 at 1:31 p.m. EST) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. EchoStar XVI was successfully released into geosynchronous transfer orbit after the planned 9-hour-and-12-minute mission.
The satellite is successfully performing post-launch maneuvers and will ultimately be maneuvered into orbit 22,300 miles above the earth at 61.5° west longitude, the companies said.
An all Ku-band satellite with continental United States (CONUS) and spot beam transponders, EchoStar XVI will be fully leased to Dish Network for the delivery of direct-to-home broadcast services to Dish customers in the United States.
Dish did not specify what DTH services it planned to provide with the satellite other than expanding HD program offerings. A Dish spokesman told Multichannel News: "We're always looking for ways to deliver the best quality and variety of programming to our customers. EchoStar XVI gives us added flexibiliy and capacity to do that. To your question, we've not made specific announcements regarding programming."
“Yesterday's launch of EchoStar XVI was a great success and we extend many thanks to our partners at Space Systems Loral, ILS and the very capable ground team in Baikonur for another job well done,” Mike Dugan, president and CEO of EchoStar, said in a release. “EchoStar remains committed to growing our satellite fleet and we look forward to additional successful launch announcements in the future.”
Made of ultra-archival materials, the disc is expected to orbit the earth for billions of years affixed to the exterior of the communications satellite EchoStar XVI.