Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

EchoStar plans 3 new TV satellites for DISH Network
Posted: Feb. 27, 2000

A previous EchoStar satellite prior to launch. Photo: Lockheed Martin
EchoStar Communications Corporation has announced the commencement of construction of three new state-of-the-art satellites designed to offer the latest technology and unparalleled choice to DISH Network subscribers across the country.

EchoStar 7 and 8 will be advanced, high-powered direct broadcast satellites (DBS). Each will include spot-beam technology that will allow DISH Network to offer local channels in as many as 60 or more markets across the United States. EchoStar 9, a hybrid Ku/Ka-band satellite, may provide dynamic new opportunities for EchoStar to pursue business-to-business customers and for DISH Network subscribers to experience expanded services that could include internet, data and potentially two-way wireless communications. EchoStar made the announcement February 23 at Team Summit 2000 in Denver, its annual conference of more than 1,600 DISH Network retailers from across the nation.

With five satellites in orbit today and a sixth scheduled to be launched this spring, DISH Network's satellite fleet already provides capacity of more than 500 channels for its more than 3.4 million customers. Delivery of EchoStar 7 and EchoStar 8 is expected during December 2001, with delivery of EchoStar 9 expected during 2002.

EchoStar 7, expected to operate from the 119 degrees West Longitude orbital location, will be designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems. EchoStar 8, which is expected to operate at the 110 degree W.L. orbital location, and EchoStar 9, which is expected to operate at the 121 degree W.L. orbital location, will be designed and manufactured by Space Systems/Loral. EchoStar 7 and 8 each will be capable of operating 32 DBS transponders at 120 watts each, switchable to 16 transponders operating at 240 watts each. The spot beam payloads for each satellite have been designed to work together to maximize the number of local spot markets served across the United States, while providing mutual back up to offer increased reliability to customers. EchoStar 9 will be capable of operating 32 Ku band transponders at 110 watts each, in addition to the Ka band payload.

"EchoStar is pleased to work with both Loral and Lockheed Martin for the construction of three more satellites that will allow us to offer our growing number of DISH Network customers even more channels," said Charlie Ergen, CEO and chairman of EchoStar. "These three new satellites show our continuing commitment to innovation and to providing consumers with the best possible service. The new satellites will help DISH Network offer exciting new services for our customers, from interactive TV and data services, to local channels so consumers have a better alternative to high cable rates."

Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., with operations in Colorado, will build EchoStar 7, which is based on the Lockheed Martin A2100 AX satellite bus optimized for direct broadcast applications. The satellite will be assembled in the Lockheed Martin Commercial Satellite Center in Sunnyvale.

"I am very pleased that we've been selected by EchoStar to provide this satellite. The award builds on the long-term relationship between the companies, which began with the provision of the first four satellites of the EchoStar constellation," said Peter Kujawski, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems. "Because EchoStar is one of the leaders of the growing direct-to-home service business, it is very important to us to be chosen to provide the right solution, especially as they continue to grow their business. We greatly look forward to working with them on the EchoStar 7 program."

Loral satellite
An artist's concept of a Loral satellite in space. Photo: Space Systems/Loral

Space Systems/Loral, based in Palo Alto, Calif., will build EchoStar 8, an SS/L FS1300 series spacecraft. Space Systems/Loral will also design and build EchoStar 9, a slightly larger SS/L FS1300 series spacecraft.

"We're proud to have earned the trust of EchoStar and the opportunity to provide products that will help EchoStar maintain its reputation for reliable, innovative services," said Dr. John M. Klineberg, president of Space Systems/Loral. "Our 1300 buses are designed to achieve highly reliable and long useful orbital life and excellent station-keeping."

Space Systems/Loral's new satellites will be similar to EchoStar 5 and 6, both built by Loral. EchoStar 5 was launched in September, 1999, and EchoStar 6 is expected to launch this spring from Cape Canaveral to join EchoStar 5 at the 110 degrees W.L. orbital position.

EchoStar is in discussions with various launch vehicle providers and will announce launch plans for each of the satellites once final agreements have been reached.

DISH Network, which currently serves over 3.4 million customers, is a trademark of EchoStar Communications Corporation.

Explore the net
EchoStar - DISH Network's official Web site.

Lockheed Martin - The company's Commercial Space Systems will build EchoStar 7.

Space Systems/Loral - Satellite manufacturer picked to build EchoStar 8 and 9.

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