On Monday, launch controllers successfully deployed into orbit the DirecTV 12 satellite, which is expected to boost DirecTV’s highdefinition (HD) channel capacity by 50% once the spacecraft commences operations during the second quarter of 2010. Built by Boeing, DirecTV 12 was launched via an International Launch Services Proton Breeze M rocket that lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Ka-band spacecraft will be positioned at 102.8° West Longitude and will join the DirecTV fleet as the company’s eleventh satellite and the fifth to be dedicated to HD services. Currently, DirecTV offers 130 national channels in HD format as well as more than 1,500 local HD channels in 138 markets that cover 92% of U.S. TV households. The successful launch of DirecTV 12 will enable DirecTV to expand its national HD channel lineup to more than 200 channels and increase the number of local HD markets it can serve. Applauding Monday’s launch, DirecTV Chief Technology Officer Romulo Pontual proclaimed, “with a robust fleet of eleven satellites, including five spacecraft delivering HD programming, advanced transmission and set-top box technology, we are able to provide our customers with an unparalleled viewing experience and maintain a significant competitive advantage for many years to come.”