Spaceflight Now

Next DISH Network satellite on the pad

Posted: July 7, 2010

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A Russian Proton rocket has been erected on the launch pad for Saturday's planned liftoff carrying a new broadcasting satellite for DISH Network and its millions of customers across the U.S.

International Launch Services is managing the commercial rocket flight for the EchoStar 15 spacecraft, which will originate from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a 1840 GMT (2:40 p.m. EDT) blastoff.

After its four stages, payload and nose cone were assembled together horizontally, the Proton was transported by rail to Baikonur's pad 39 early Wednesday. Ground equipment then rotated the 191-foot-tall rocket to stand vertically for the final days of pre-flight prep work.

This will be the 358th Proton launch dating back to 1965 and the seventh of 2010. For marketer ILS, the mission represents the 61st commercial flight since 1996 and fifth this year.

EchoStar 15 is headed for geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator where the craft will match Earth's rotation and appear parked at 61.5 degrees West longitude.

Built by Space Systems/Loral, the 12,150-pound satellite is equipped with 32 Ku-band transponders to relay high definition and other television programming directly to the homes of DISH Network subscribers.

The pay TV firm, based in Englewood, Colorado, currently uses a dozen orbiting spacecraft to provide services to 14 million customers.

EchoStar 15 joins two older satellites at the 61.5-degree slot: EchoStar 3 launched in October 1997 and EchoStar 12 launched in July 2003, both using ILS Atlas rockets from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Photo credit: Roscosmos

Credit: Roscosmos