No, nice Mr Murdoch hasn't snapped up some new orbital real estate to beam Sky down at us - instead, US HD TV operator DirecTV has offered to kit out the International Space Station with a system enabling astronauts to enjoy over 70 channels of high-def telly.

In what may be an inspired publicity stunt, the California-based company is offering the Space Station, which now has a new module giving enhanced living accomodation and a repaired solar array delivering plenty of power, a 42in HDTV and its satellite TV service.

And, the company says, 'If NASA accepts DirecTV’s offer, the nation’s No. 1 satellite TV company is prepared to offer its top engineer to assist in the installation of the familiar satellite dish on the roof of the new module.

'As a satellite TV service we obviously have a vested interest in space exploration and we’ve certainly benefited from NASA’s many technical and scientific achievements over the years. This is one way we can give a little something back.'

The company expects to be broadcasting 100 channels of HDTV by the end of this year and, with the launch of its DirecTV 11 satellite in 2008, will have the capacity to offer 150 national HD channels and 1500 local HD services across America.

NASA has so far not commented on the offer.

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