While we can only imagine that most DISH Network subscribers are waiting anxiously for EchoStar XV to liftoff in 2010, we've got somewhat of an appetizer to share with you today. International Launch Services is making its final preparations to send off the Ciel II communications satellite for an estimated 16 years of service to Ciel and EchoStar. On the official Mission Control page, the "Purpose" is simply listed as "various services," so it's hard to say if this will be used for additional bandwidth or just to look pretty in outer space. Suppose we'll find out soon enough, as the bird takes flight at 8:43ET on December 10th.

[Thanks, Vanbrothers]

Read - Press release
Read - Mission Control website

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Ciel II satellite prepares for launch, EchoStar service