It's official: the AMC-14 debacle can be pushed aside from the rear of your mind, as DISH Network's most recent launch went off without a hitch. Sea Launch has announced this morning that EchoStar XI, which lifted off late last night, has successfully reached orbit. Shortly after cruising was complete, operators at the Gnangara ground station in Perth, Australia "acquired the spacecraft's first signals from orbit." It's noted that "all systems performed nominally throughout the mission," and it looks as if we should have 15 years of uninterrupted service from this one just as soon as it goes into action... which will hopefully happen sooner rather than later.

[Via Reuters]