Reston, Va. (UPI) Nov 15, 2010
A U.S. satellite carrying the biggest commercial reflector antenna ever put into space has been successfully launched, it backers say.
The mesh antenna on the Skyterra-1 satellite, launched successfully from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Sunday, is 72 feet across, the BBC reported Monday.
The antenna will relay cellphone and data signals for a start-up company called LightSquared.
Cellphone users whose carriers use the system will have their calls automatically switched to the satellite, built by Boeing, if they are out of range of a terrestrial cell tower, the company says.
LightSquared is the latest effort to try to establish a hybrid satellite-terrestrial system in the United States after two previous ventures ran into financial problems. LightSquared says it will be selling capacity to carriers who wish to offer go-anywhere connectivity to their consumers, phone and data users alike.
The 5.4-ton satellite is expected to have a service life of 15 years, the BBC said.
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SkyTerra One Satellite Sends First Signals From Space
El Segundo CA (SPX) Nov 16, 2010
Boeing has received the first on-orbit signals from LightSquared's SkyTerra 1 following the satellite's launch at 12:29 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 14 on an International Launch Services Proton vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Controllers at the ground station in Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, confirmed initial contact with the spacecraft at 9:50 p.m. Eastern time. Signal a ... read more
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