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Mission typecommunication
OperatorAT&T Communications
COSPAR ID2005-015A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.28644
Mission duration12 years (planned)
14 years, 8 months (elapsed)
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass6080 kg
Dry mass3691 kg
Dimensions3.4 x 3.2 x 5.1 metre
Power12.3 kW
Start of mission
Launch date26 April 2005, 07:32 UTC
Launch siteOdyssey
ContractorSea Launch
Entered serviceJune 2005
End of mission
DisposalGraveyard orbit
DeactivatedFebruary 2020
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeostationary orbit
Longitude102.8° West
Band72 Ka-band transponders
Frequency500 MHz
Coverage areaNorth America

Spaceway-1 [1] was a part of AT&T's constellation of direct broadcast satellites. The satellite was launched via a Zenit-3SL rocket from Sea Launch's Odyssey equatorial platform on 26 April 2005. Its operational position was in geosynchronous orbit 35,800 kilometres (22,200 mi) above the equator at 102.8° West longitude. Spaceway-1 was a Boeing 702-model satellite with a 12-year life expectancy. It provided high-definition television to DirecTV customers with its Ka-band communications payload. DirecTV did not make use of the broadband capabilities on Spaceway-1 even though it was originally built by Boeing for this purpose.


Spaceway-1 was the heaviest commercial communications satellite 6080 kg ever put into orbit[2] until iPSTAR-1 (6775 kg) was launched by Arianespace on 11 August 2005.

T10 was co-located with Spaceway-1 in order to use the 500 MHz of unused spectrum for HDTV broadcasting. This spectrum was originally intended for the broadband internet capabilities of the two Spaceway satellites which were disabled by Hughes Network Systems at the request of DirecTV.


During its last years, its main purpose was to serve as a backup satellite. Spaceway-1 suffered thermal damage to its battery in December 2019, prompting AT&T to request the spacecraft be decommissioned before on 25 February 2020, to prevent the risk of the spacecraft exploding.[3] As the damages to the satellite's batteries were significant and irreversible, in February 2020, the Spaceway-1 satellite was moved into a graveyard orbit above the geostationary orbit and decommissioned.[4]


  1. ^ "DIRECTV's Spaceway-1 Satellite Launches New Era in High-Definition Programming; Next Generation Satellite Will Initiate Historic Expansion of DIRECTV". DirecTV. SpaceRef. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Sea Launch Successfully Delivers Spaceway to Orbit - Heaviest Commercial Satellite Launched to Date". Boeing. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  3. ^ Henry, Caleb (22 January 2020). "DirecTV fears explosion risk from satellite with damaged battery". SpaceNews. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  4. ^ Henry, Caleb (14 February 2020). "DirecTV's defunct Spaceway-1 reaches high graveyard orbit in one piece". SpaceNews. Retrieved 19 February 2020.

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