If there were any doubts about the purpose of the Ciel II satellite, it's safe to say those questions have been answered. According to a glowing release on International Launch Services' website, the latest bird to leave its hands has successfully reached space, and now it waits to "ultimately be moved to 129 degrees West longitude where it will deliver digital television services to Canada and the contiguous United States." Brian Neill, chairman of the Ciel Satellite Group, was quoted as saying that "now that the spacecraft has delivered an initial signal, Ciel, our founders, investors, and our customer, DISH Network, can look forward to Ciel II's operation early next year." No word on what exactly DISH will use this for "early next year," but it doesn't sound like we'll be waiting long to find out.

[Thanks, Joe]

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Ciel II satellite successfully reaches orbit, gears up for DISH service