The Cover photo is the DIRECTTV-4S, a Boeing 601P satellite, which is the fifth satellite to be built by Boeing Satellite Systems (BBS) for DIRECTVR, a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp. The satellite as launched aboard an Ariane 4 rocket at the Guiana Space Center on the Northeast coast of South America . Once deployed and in service at 1010 West longitude, the more than 85-foot-long, 24.5 foot-wide DIRECTV-4S will provide the capacity to deliver additional local channels and strengthen the redundancy of the DIRECTV in-orbit fleet.
The DIRECTV-4S will be the first world’s commercial satellite to employ high efficiency solar arrays with triple junction gallium arsenide solar cells built by Spectrolab, Inc., a BSS subsidiary. These solar cells employ a three-layered structure, with each layer able to capture and convert a different portion of the solar spectrum. Arranged in two solar arrays, the panel is 85.8 feet long when deployed. Its photovoltaic solar cells will be able to convert 24.5 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity, the highest efficiency of any commercial satellite to date. This will equate to 8.3 kiloWatts of power at the end of its 15-year design life.
This Boeing-built satellite deployed by DIRECTV is the first spacecraft in the DIRECTV fleet to employ spot beams. This technology reuses the same frequencies on multiple spot beams to reach the major television markets where DIRECTV delivers the signals of local network affiliates.