One of our trainees asked me the other day, “what is DIRECTV 7S?” and it’s a good question, because it’s not a term that most of the DIRECT faithful, even the more tech-oriented, tend to use. But it’s actually pretty simple.
DIRECTV 7S is the name of the satellite DIRECTV uses at its 119 degree location. It’s a Space Systems LS-1300 that’s been was launched in 2004 and has been in service ever since. It’s been used to provide local channels and commercial programming to DIRECTV customers, and it’s coming to the end of its operational life in 2019.
The 119 satellite location is shared with DISH and others and DIRECTV licensed it for use at a time before they were able to obtain licenses for the 99 and 103 satellite locations, which do a better job of serving the continental US. (For reference, 119 degrees is slightly west of San Diego, while 99 and 103 are right over the middle of the US.) It’s not the best location for satellite TV and that’s one of the reasons that there is no plan to replace DIRECTV 7S with anything else at that location.
Most of the time, we refer to DIRECTV 7S as “the 119 satellite.” It’s exactly the same thing. After 2019, we won’t refer to it at all. It will be moved to a parking orbit where it will eventually decay or where eventually, we’ll put a spaceship in charge of cleaning up all the old junk that’s accumulating up there.