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This One Goes to XI

EchoStar XI, the latest bird in Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s orbital arsenal, is slated to lift off late tonight from Sea Launch Inc.'s Odyssey platform. Liftoff is set for 10:21 p.m. PDT -- the opening of a two-hour launch window. (See EchoStar Set for Liftoff.)

If the launch is successful -- something that didn't happen last time -- the 12,150-pound satellite will enter orbit at 154 degrees West Longitude. Dish reportedly will use the satellite's capacity to beef up its standard-definition and high-definition channel lineup.

Despite the recent loss of the AMC-14 satellite, Dish announced last week it would reach its goal of offering 100 "national" hi-def nets by August 1, about five months ahead of schedule. (See Dish Has HD Century Mark in Sight.)

Sea Launch will carry the launch live via its Website. Dish is also offering live coverage on Channel 101.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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