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A Russian Proton launch vehicle carried the DirecTV 5 satellite into space Tuesday afternoon.

DirecTV 5 will be positioned at the satellite TV company's 119-degree orbital slot, and will deliver services now being broadcast by DirecTV 6. The older DirecTV 6, which delivers Spanish-language and high definition programming, will become an in-orbit spare once the new satellite begins operation in July.

In addition, DirecTV 5 will provide additional capacity for new services and support the roll-out of new local channel markets. The spacecraft, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, was built by Space Systems/Loral.

Meanwhile, wire sources reported that DirecTV signed a carriage deal with Disney and ABC Cable Networks that guarantees the continued delivery of ABC Family on the satellite TV service. Disney took over the network last year from FOX, and was engaged in a carriage dispute with EchoStar concerning carriage of the channel on the company's DISH Network DBS service.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
 
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