What is the satellite of Dish TV?

  • Posted on: 01 Jul 2024
    What is the satellite of Dish TV?

  • Dish TV is one of the biggest DBS services provider companies in the USA which broadcasts its programming signals through a number of powerful satellites placed in geostationary orbit to reach a large number of customers across USA. Here is an overview of the key satellites that comprise the backbone of Dish TV's infrastructure:

    Intelsat Galaxy Satellites

    As for Dish TV, this company uses Intelsat’s leased satellite bandwidth provided by three satellites called Galaxy that are in orbit over the Americas. These include the Galaxy 16, Galaxy 17, and Galaxy 18 satellites which offer Dish Ku-band capacity and coverage, perfect for direct-to-home television transmission in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

    The Galaxy satellites integrated 24 Ku-band transponders along with extra-large receive antennas for the purpose of getting the power and efficiency as much as possible. Located at a height of 36000 km, 35100 km, and 34600 km respectively with longitudes 99° 91° and 123° west respectively, they are stationary and help in relaying Dish TV channels all across the country. The national HD and SD programs are distributed using around 16 transponders through three Galaxy satellites.

    EchoStar Satellites

    However, Dish TV also has its own fleet of EchoStar satellites owned by Dish TV’s parent company EchoStar Corporation that provides a major portion of Dish TV’s leased Intelsat capacity. Majorly Dish employs eight EchoStar satellites of which are EchoStar VII, X, XI, XIV, XVI and the EchoStar XV in 2010.

    The backbone of the fleet is the EchoStar X, XI and XIV spacecraft in 110, 119 and 121 west slots respectively. Combined they offer in excess of fifty Ku-band Dish National Channels, while EchoStar XVI offers spot beam capacity for local TV stations. These satellites directly place Dish in full control and priority of bandwidth for its broadcasting needs in the EchoStar satellites.


    The satellites that Dish TV uses usually range from 3000-5000kg and require solar power panels as big as 45m in length to power its amplifiers/transponders onboard. It employs phased array antennas to develop tens of narrow-witted broadcast signals directed at various areas.

    stabilization systems are designed to keep an accurate lock of their assigned position in the orbit within 0.1 degrees. This helps to eliminate the attenuation or marginalization of signals in the course of the broadcasts. An important aspect of the design is that the satellites should work for 10-15 years when they will exhaust their station-keeping fuel.


    It is fascinating to note that in order to send satellites up into space for Dish TV, it takes powerful launch vehicles. The majority of EchoStar satellites were launched by international launch services company Arianespace and its heavy-duty Ariane 5 vehicle. In recent years SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket have been used for producing launches because they are cheaper and have high reliability which is attractive to commercial dealers such as Dish. Generally, the orbital testing of the satellites takes about 3- 6 months before going into full TV broadcasting service for Dish Network.

    Ground Stations

    However, similar to other satellite television services, Dish TV also uses ground stations for commanding its satellites and also for receiving programs. The EchoStar Satellite Operations Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming is equipped with satellite command stations and data stations used to monitor the broadcast business and operation of satellites. They also have sub-facilities such as Broadcast Center Utah where programs are bought, preserved, and transmitted to satellites for distribution. These ground assets are crucial to transport TV channels to the Dish subscriber dishes across the country.

    In Conclusion

    Satellite technology enables Dish TV to have a Direct Broadcast Satellite service. It secures capacity on Intelsat’s Galaxy fleet within the Americas and has large fleet of EchoStar satellites aimed at TV broadcasting in the specific orbital positions. Together these space assets cover Dish customers with hundreds of channels all the way from the northernmost to the southmost regions of the country. A vast ground network supports the satellites and makes it possible for Dish to effectively transmit efficient satellite television services in the United States.


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