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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From this press release :

Quote:
Space Systems/Loral Selected By DIRECTV to Build Two Flexible, High-Power Satellites

Wednesday October 1, 3:41 pm ET



PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications (OTC Bulletin Board: LRLSQ - News), announced today that DIRECTV, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., has issued SS/L authorizations to proceed (ATPs) with the design and construction of two satellites: DIRECTV 8 and DIRECTV 9S. Aggregate revenue for the construction of the two satellites will be in excess of $220 million.


"DIRECTV's award represents Loral's second and third orders for commercial satellite construction this year and a total of 14 for the industry -- a positive indicator of a resurgence in satellite manufacturing sales," said Bernard L. Schwartz, chairman and chief executive officer of Loral Space & Communications. "For Loral, the orders are a significant step forward in the execution of our business plan under the reorganization process. As satellite operators resume their normal procurement patterns, we believe SS/L will benefit as the preferred provider of the most advanced and most reliable commercial communications satellites available anywhere. We are most appreciative of DIRECTV's confidence in SS/L's ability to provide state-of-the-art satellites for its mission critical applications."


The ATPs have been submitted for approval by the Bankruptcy Court.


DIRECTV 8, to be delivered in the late first quarter of 2005, will provide national coverage from the 101 degrees West longitude orbital slot, DIRECTV's primary orbital slot. The satellite will also be able to operate from DIRECTV's orbital slots at 110 and 119 degrees West longitude. The satellite will carry 16 high-power transponders for high-quality national digital video services.


DIRECTV 9S, scheduled for delivery in the late second quarter of 2005, is designed to operate from orbital locations at 101 degrees West longitude or 119 degrees West longitude. As a back-up for DIRECTV's 4S and 7S satellites, it will be capable of providing up to 54 transponders for high-quality local and national digital video service broadcast into 27 beams. In an alternate configuration, the satellite will be capable of providing up to 44 transponders broadcast into 30 beams.


"We selected SS/L to design and manufacture these two advanced satellites because it was best able to meet our schedule and technical requirements," said Jim Butterworth, senior vice president, Communications Systems, DIRECTV, Inc. "These spacecraft will provide DIRECTV with additional capacity and back- up capabilities as we continue to build out our network to provide additional services to our customers that will include more local channel markets and high-definition programming. We're confident in SS/L's ability to deliver in accordance with our agreed upon specifications."


With the completion of DIRECTV 8 and DIRECTV 9S, Loral will have manufactured five -- more than half -- of the satellites in DIRECTV's fleet. SS/L is currently building DIRECTV 7S, a high-power, spot-beam satellite scheduled for launch in mid to late first quarter of 2004.


DIRECTV 8 and DIRECTV 9S are based on SS/L's space-proven 1300 satellite platform, which has an excellent record of reliable operation. The geostationary 1300 has a designed service life of 15 years and maintains station-keeping and orbital stability by using bipropellant propulsion and momentum management systems. A system of high efficiency solar arrays and lightweight batteries provides uninterrupted electrical power. In all, SS/L satellites have amassed more than 1000 years of on-orbit service.


DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital multichannel television service provider with more than 11.8 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp. HUGHES is a world-leading provider of digital television entertainment, broadband services, satellite-based private business networks, and global video and data broadcasting. The earnings of HUGHES, a unit of General Motors Corporation, are used to calculate the earnings per share attributable to the General Motors Class H common stock (NYSE: GMH - News). For more information, visit www.directv.com.


Space Systems/Loral is a premier designer, manufacturer, and integrator of powerful satellites and satellite systems. SS/L also provides a range of related services that include mission control operations and procurement of launch services. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the company has an international base of commercial and governmental customers whose applications include broadband digital communications, direct-to-home broadcast, defense communications, environmental monitoring, and air traffic control. SS/L is ISO 9001:2000 certified. For more information, visit www.ssloral.com.


Loral Space & Communications is a satellite communications company. Through its Skynet subsidiary, it owns and operates a global fleet of telecommunications satellites used by television and cable networks to broadcast video entertainment programming, and by communication service providers, resellers, corporate and government customers for broadband data transmission, Internet services and other value-added communications services. Loral also is a world-class leader in the design and manufacture of satellites and satellite systems through its Space Systems/Loral subsidiary. For more information, visit Loral's web site at www.loral.com.


This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In addition, Loral Space & Communications Ltd. or its representatives have made or may make forward-looking statements, orally or in writing, which may be included in, but are not limited to, various filings made by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, press releases or oral statements made with the approval of an authorized executive officer of the company. Actual results could differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements as a result of a wide variety of factors and conditions. These factors include those related to the filing, on July 15, 2003 by Loral and certain of its subsidiaries, of voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and parallel insolvency proceedings in the Supreme Court of Bermuda in which certain partners of KPMG were appointed as joint provisional liquidators. Additional factors and conditions are also described in the section of the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2002, entitled "Certain Factors That May Affect Future Results," and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The reader is specifically referred to these documents.


Contacts:

Jeanette Clonan

John McCarthy

Loral Space & Communications

212-697-1105


Robert G. Mercer

DIRECTV, Inc.

310-726-4683
There isn't really much (if any) benefit to HD capacity from these two satellites. DirecTV-9S will service as a backup and DirecTV-8 will probably service as a replacement for one of the older satellites at 101.
 

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Looks like Directv's plan to offer all 210 DMA's is coming true. Plus with Directv8, Hawaii will finally receive all of Directv's core programming.
 

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This is actually both interesting *and* profoundly irrelevant (perhaps outside of Alaska and Hawaii, where real benefits might be felt?!?).


These are both backups/replacements (currently, there is no way to backup much of the stuff in the sky; in particular the local channels). A spot-beam satellite that can backup 4S or 7S is a very critical thing for a rainy day -- should one ever come.


None of this means a thing toward HDTV. All the gains on that front with come from 7S, due next spring. It also means nothing vis a vis locals, which similarly will be as capable of being covered as is currently conceived of once 7S is aloft. [Note: There might be some incredibly minor benefit from DirecTV 8 if it's a bit higher powered than whatever it's replacing; that allows for a slight reduction in FEC in theory and slightly more bandwidth. But this is minor.]


I am not really sure how they are going to cover all 210 DMAs using 4S + 7S to deliver locals. (And, no, putting some locals on CONUS bandwidth does not help.) But they haven't really announced a timetable to specifically do that, so it might well be dependent on the use of Ku-FSS bandwidth that they intend to add into the DirecTV universe next year or the year after -- along with a SuperDish-like solution.


When they announce the spot-beam Ka-band bird, then we'll know they plan on delivering hundreds of locals in HD... In the meantime, point those terrestrial antennas at the towers. :)


mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
rogo,


I was under the impression that their timeline for all 210 DMAs was 2006-2008, using one or more Ka satellites, which News Corp says they will spend $1 billion to build and launch.


That said, it is possible that 8S could be used to deliver some new local markets. Obviously, to do that, they would need to use smaller, non-overlapping beams . Of course, this will require additional uplink capacity.
 

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This is bizarre. With 7S in 2004, they will be completely saturated. More satellites does not mean any more capacity as they are already using every transponder CONUS or spot beam possible.


I don't see how they can justify the launch of $200 million in backup gear which MIGHT be needed some day.
 

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feldon maybe that explains the economics of their operation
 

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DirecTV 1(DBS-1) and DirecTV 2(DBS-2) are in the last third of their rated service lives ( launch ca.1993 with 13-14 yr rated service life ) DirecTV 6(Tempo 2) Has many issues keeping from operating at 100% power. The need for orbital spares/backups is critical. The loss of one or more of the existing birds would be a challange for DirecTV to maintain their current level of service.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by bfdtv
rogo,


I was under the impression that their timeline for all 210 DMAs was 2006-2008, using one or more Ka satellites, which News Corp says they will spend $1 billion to build and launch.


That said, it is possible that 8S could be used to deliver some new local markets. Obviously, to do that, they would need to use smaller, non-overlapping beams . Of course, this will require additional uplink capacity.
It sure doesn't sound like 8S will be used that way, though.


Also, I believe you are right that the "all DMAs" timeline is the further one. However, it seems pretty likely to me that the solution also includes Ku-FSS band -- which has been proven to work unlike Ka -- and can be rolled out much sooner.


I am a little unclear on what the locals + HDTV + HD locals strategy really will look like because for $1 billion, they can do some awfully clever things that don't necessary involve really pricey satellites and unproven bands as their sole modus operandi.


I guess we shall see/hear in time.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by feldon23
I don't see how they can justify the launch of $200 million in backup gear which MIGHT be needed some day.
I am sure it's all a part of their Disaster Recovery Plan. You plan for problems, you plan for the fact that in 2005 or 2006, you'll need boat loads more bandwidth (HDTV) - you can't just wait till you need the bandwidth and then decide to order new birds. As well, the stated use of the birds could be completely different by the time they're launched, just that they don't want to tip their hand right now to the competition.


Cheers,

Caleb
 

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The Chinese are now gearing up an indigenous space program and will be launching satellites at ever increasing rates. The Europeans are in the game, and the U.S. launches a zillion of 'em a year. Is there any upper limit as to how many birds can float around up there in the geosync shell before they start to interfere with/running into each other. Is it limitless? Just wondering....
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by archiguy
The Chinese are now gearing up an indigenous space program and will be launching satellites at ever increasing rates. The Europeans are in the game, and the U.S. launches a zillion of 'em a year. Is there any upper limit as to how many birds can float around up there in the geosync shell before they start to interfere with/running into each other. Is it limitless? Just wondering....
DBS satellites are spaced every 9 degrees, which would allow for 40 around the world. Of course, many of these would service empty ocean. Ku and C band satellites are spaced every 2 degrees, allowing for 180 around the world, again servicing the oceans very well.


The answer for greater capacity is to move up in frequency, which requires overcoming significant technological and engineering problems.
 

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Um, given that the satellites orbit at 22,300 above the earth, there is room for probably a few million of them in geosync orbit.


And frequency re-use is already done all the time, not to mention frequency expansion.


I did not read the initial question as one about DBS capacity (of which there is a ton more out there than is currently being used), but of logistics. And there is certainly no meaningful logistical issue.
 

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More correctly DBS orbital slots are CENTERED at 9 degree intervals and are nominally a three degree "window" that may contain many birds simultaniously and be received with a fixed dish. (example: 101 west slot contains D1R, D2, D3 and D4S all spaced approx 0.2 degree apart within the three degree window)
 

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Well, using my math skills, I get that the earth (8,000 miles wide) would have a 4,000 mile radius. That puts the sats at 26,300 miles from the center of the earth, or on a 52,600 mile diameter. The circumference would be slightly over 165,000 miles. Multiply that by 9/360 and you come up with about 4,130 miles between CONUS slots, which is substantially further than New York to LA.
 

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And, again, there would be room for thousands upon thousands upon thousnads of satellites in geosync orbit for the U.S.


Mark
 

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I wonder if the ring around Saturn is an artifact of overzealous satellite building from a previous civilization. ;)


- Tom
 
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