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ARCHIVED  October 1, 1997

EchoStar Corp. blasts off with Cheyenne expansion

Business Report Wyoming Bureau
CHEYENNE — EchoStar continues to shoot for the stars.
Recovering nicely from a broken engagement, the Colorado-based small-dish satellite television company is midway through expansion of its Cheyenne uplink facility, it paced the industry in signing up new subscribers this summer and it is scheduled to launch its third satellite in October.
So who needs Rupert Murdoch now?
EchoStar Communications Corp.˜s announced merger with Murdoch˜s American Sky Broadcasting ended acrimoniously earlier this year and is wrapped in litigation, and company officials aren˜t commenting about Murdoch, the litigation or other possible partnerships.
But they are pleased to talk about their ongoing efforts to expand their Space Age facility in Cheyenne and their goals of making the 18-inch home satellite dish every much a fixture as a coaxial cable television hookup.
"By the time we˜re finished here at this facility and we have all the equipment installed, we will have spent over $100 million out here," said Brent Gale, EchoStar˜s vice president for satellite and broadcast operations.
EchoStar˜s 73,000-square-foot, three-story addition will more than double the size of its current 60,000-square-foot uplink facility in Cheyenne˜s Business Parkway and provide new opportunities for EchoStar to manage its growing fleet of satellites from southeastern Wyoming.
"The top floor will be the telemetry and tracking floor, where we will fly the spacecraft from Cheyenne," Gale said proudly.
The construction project carries a $14 million price tag, not counting the state-of-the-art electronic equipment that will be installed inside it, or the huge dish-shaped antennas that keep sprouting like mushrooms outside it, at $1 million a pop. The newest is 70 feet in diameter and can pick up 35 satellites simultaneously, and it˜s scheduled to be ready for operation in October, just in time for the launch of the company˜s newest satellite.
EchoStar III will double the company˜s broadcasting capabilities, making the new addition all the more imperative. Construction started in May and is scheduled to be completed in February, when EchoStar˜s fourth satellite is scheduled to be launched, but right now, Gale said, the existing building is "maxed out."
EchoStar III is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Oct. 6 aboard a Lockheed-Martin Atlas 2-S rocket. Ten days later, it should be in its correct orbit position, and crews in Cheyenne will begin a six-week testing process before it joins EchoStar I and II in ongoing operations.
"That one satellite will do what the two satellites are now doing, so it˜s twice as big, twice as powerful," Gale said. "It will double our capacity, and then we have EchoStar IV, which goes up at the end of February ˜98. That˜s not too far away, either."
EchoStar˜s satellites echo the company˜s international flavor. The first was launched from China and the second from French Guiana. The third will be launched from the United States, while EchoStar IV is scheduled to go into orbit from Russia — just the ticket for a company that wants to sell video, audio and data services around the globe.
"We˜re going to be running more video services, more audio services, and the new thing is we˜re going to be doing a lot of data services over the satellite — Internet-type programs direct to your dish at home," Gale explained.
"Because the video, audio and data are all ones and zeros, it doesn˜t matter — we can mix and match the ones and zeros all together, send them up to the satellite and bring them back directly to your television or your home computer," he said.
Currently, EchoStar is running about 150 video channels, 30 CD music channels and 30 commercial CD channels for Muzak and providing data services to several clients.
It serves 750,000 residential video subscribers and had the fastest growth of any direct TV company this summer, signing up 75,000 subscribers in August.

Business Report Wyoming Bureau
CHEYENNE — EchoStar continues to shoot for the stars.
Recovering nicely from a broken engagement, the Colorado-based small-dish satellite television company is midway through expansion of its Cheyenne uplink facility, it paced the industry in signing up new subscribers this summer and it is scheduled to launch its third satellite in October.
So who needs Rupert Murdoch now?
EchoStar Communications Corp.˜s announced merger with Murdoch˜s American Sky Broadcasting ended acrimoniously earlier this year and is wrapped in litigation, and company officials aren˜t commenting about Murdoch, the litigation or other possible partnerships.
But they are pleased to…

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