ASTRIUM, Europe's leading space company, has been selected by DIRECTV, one of the world's leading providers of digital television entertainment services to design and manufacture DIRECTV 15, a new high-power telecommunications satellite to provide back-up capacity and fleet expansion for television services to US customers in homes and businesses.

Based on ASTRIUM's highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform, the new satellite, DIRECTV 15, will have a payload comprising 30 high power transponders in Ku-band, 24 transponders in Ka-band, 18 transponders in Reverse Band, and will be able to operate from up to five orbital locations from 99°W to 119°W, covering Continental US (CONUS), Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Philip Goswitz, DIRECTV senior vice president of Space & Communications said: "DIRECTV is pleased to start a new relationship with ASTRIUM, the leading provider of satellite systems in Europe, with their well established reputation for technical excellence and high reliability."

Evert Dudok, CEO of ASTRIUM Satellites, said: "To win such a contract in the US is a major success and demonstrates ASTRIUM's competitiveness on the global market. The ASTRIUM Eurostar satellite is highly appreciated by our customers worldwide. We will work closely with DIRECTV, and ASTRIUM is committed to delivering a spacecraft that meets all of their requirements, on quality and on schedule."

DIRECTV 15 is scheduled for launch in 2014. The spacecraft will have a launch mass of 6,300 kg, an electrical power of 16 kW and is designed to deliver more than 15 years of in-orbit operations.

About Astrium

Astrium is the number one company in Europe and the third in the world for space technologies. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.

In 2010, Astrium had a turnover of €5 billion and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and Astrium Services for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group - comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter - generated revenues of € 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.