Boeing has successfully shipped the high-definition DIRECTV 12 broadcasting satellite from its El Secundo facility to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Russia in preparation for launch.

The 6,060kg satellite has been built for satellite operator DIRECTV to broaden its line-up of digital television programming services and to expand its customer base.

The satellite features a payload, which integrates 36 active and eight spare national service Ka-band travelling wave tube amplifiers (TWTA) in addition to 54 active and 16 spare spot beam TWTAs.

The payload will be powered by a massive solar array spanning over 48m of ultra triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells.

The new satellite will increase DIRECTV’s high-definition (HD) capacity by 50% and together with DIRECTV 10 and 11 satellites, will deliver 200 national and 1,500 local HDTV channels to the US.

DIRECTV 12’s national and spot-beam Ka-band payloads will receive and transmit programming throughout the continental US, Alaska and Hawaii.

The satellite will undergo final preparations for the December 2009 launch on a Proton / Breeze M rocket.