The nation’s largest satellite TV provider, based in Southern California, said it successfully launched a new seven-ton satellite into earth orbit Saturday.
DIRECTV said its new relay station DIRECTV 14 lifted off atop a an Ariane 5 rocket at 9:40 a.m. Pacific time from the European Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. Controllers at a ground station at Hassan, India made contact with the satellite 28 minutes into the launch and confirmed that all systems are functioning properly, the company said.
New video codings and additional transmission capacity on DIRECTV14 will allow the firm to deliver “4K Ultra HD” programming. It will also increase capabilty for HD signals of local stations in more markets, and provide backup for DIRECTV’s existing fleet of six HD satellites.
The satellite was designed and built by Space Systems/Loral, and is designed to provide service for 15 years or more. It will eventually be parked at 99 degrees west at an altitude that will allow it to orbit Earth at the same speed that the planet orbits, the stationary satellite orbital technique discovered by Arthur C. Clarke and named after him.
Last month, DIRECTV became the first video provider to offer 4K Ultra HD programming direct to customer TVs, offering pictures with nearly four times the resolution of HD.
DIRECTV is headquartered in El Segundo.