DirecTV 15

Image: Airbus Defence and Space
Image: Airbus Defence and Space

The DirecTV 15 satellite is a commercial Geostationary Communications Satellite operated by DirecTV as part of the company’s fleet of satellites to deliver HD and Ultra-HD Direct-to-Home (DTH) Television Services. DirecTV has over 20 million customers in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. The company has been operating communication satellites since 1993.

DirecTV 15 was built by Airbus Defence and Space based on the flight-proven Eurostar-3000 satellite bus. The platform is capable of hosting communications payloads with a total power exceeding 16,000 Watts. The spacecraft platform can support a high degree of customization to be able to support a variety of payloads including commercial communications and military payload packages. Eurostar-3000 made its first launch in 2004.

The DirecTV 15 satellite has a launch mass of around 6,200 Kilograms. The spacecraft stands 7.5 meters tall and, in orbit, its deployed solar arrays have a span of over 30 meters.

The satellite platform consists of a central cylinder which facilitates the propellant tanks for the bi-propellant propulsion system. The cylinder consists of several segments connected via ring-joints. Internal composite panels are mounted to the cylinder to facilitate the external panels and provide mounting platforms for the various satellite components.

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Image: ESA
Image: ESA

Two deployable solar arrays are used for power generation featuring triple-junction Gallium-Arsenide solar cells. Power is stored in onboard batteries while a Power Conditioning and Distribution Unit regulates the satellite’s power bus and controls the state of charge of the batteries. DirecTV 15 will generate a total power of 18,000 Watts at the start of its mission.

A dedicated bi-propellant propulsion system will be used for apogee maneuvers and stationkeeping maneuvers in Geostationary Orbit. Eurostar-3000 is three-axis stabilized featuring a state of the art navigation system.

The satellite provides precise Earth-pointing capabilities and stationkeeping accuracy is +/-0.05 degrees. E-3000 provides the option of adding an electric propulsion system.

DirecTV 15 hosts a powerful communications payload comprised of 30 high-power Ku-Band Transponders, 24 Ka-Band transponders and 18 transponders operating in the reverse band between 17 and 27 GHz permitting uplink in frequency bands used for Direct Satellite Broadcast. The satellite is designed to operate from up to five orbital locations from 99° to 119° West to support a high degree of flexibility responding to customer demand and changes in DirecTV’s satellite constellation.

The satellite will cover the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico initially starting out at a position of 103°W in Geostationary Orbit. DirecTV 15 will provide back-up capacity and expansion capability for DTH services to private and commercial customers. The satellite will operate for a service life of at least 15 years.