DirecTV readies for 4K satellite

Arianespace is ready to launch into space DirecTV’s latest satellite. DirecTV-14, once it has launched and reached its correct orbital position, will host the broadcaster’s 4K/Ultra-HD transmissions. The satellite has been placed in its special housing atop a smaller satellite being launched for India (GSAT-16).

The two satellites are protected by the rockets encapsulating fairing. A launch readiness review was scheduled to take place on December 2nd, after which the giant rocket will be moved to its launch site at French Guiana’s Kourou ELA-3 launch zone.

Lift-off is currently scheduled for the late afternoon in Kourou on December 4th. The rocket journey will last a total of just 32 minutes.  The two satellites represent a massive cargo, with combined weights of 10,200 kgs when the satellite’s holding and release mechanisms are included.

DirecTV-14 uses Ka-band and the newfangled ‘Reverse’ DBS signals. The ‘Reverse’ DTH signals are wholly innovative. Reverse DBS uses the current uplink frequencies for down-transmissions, and downlinking frequencies for uplinking to the satellite. The concept is claimed to permit more bandwidth.

The theory is based on the ‘wasted’ transmissions of usual DBS/DTH broadcasts. A normal satellite transmission ‘broadcasts’ its signal over a huge area, in DirecTV’s case around half the US’s land mass. However, uplink frequencies come from a few very specific points underneath the footprint and uses highly-focussed antennas to deliver the maximum-strength signal up to the satellite. The chance of signal interference is said to be minimal.

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