Palo Alto CA (SPX) Jul 03, 2009
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) has announced that the satellite it built for TerreStar Networks is successfully performing post-launch maneuvers. The world's largest commercial satellite deployed its solar arrays Wednesday evening, following its launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The satellite's first thruster firing will begin later today, to propel it toward its final geosynchronous orbit.
"The successful launch of TerreStar-1 marks the start of a new era in integrated satellite and terrestrial mobile services," said Jeffrey Epstein, president of TerreStar Networks. "Space Systems/Loral has been an important partner in helping us achieve our vision."
TerreStar-1 has an 18-meter antenna reflector that will unfold like an umbrella when the satellite reaches its orbital slot. The large reflector enables voice, data, and video communications to be transmitted to mobile devices the size of a typical smartphone using 2GHz spectrum.
Space Systems/Loral, working with Hughes Network Systems, developed a two-way Ground-Based Beam Forming (GBBF) system that provides the flexibility to put the satellite's power where it is needed the most at any point in time. With GBBF, TerreStar-1 is capable of generating hundreds of spot beams covering the Continental U.S., Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"Over one million hours were spent to design, build, and test TerreStar-1," said John Celli, president and chief operating officer of Space Systems/Loral. "The completion of this highly complex satellite is truly a testament to our skills, hard work, and dedication, and the support of many suppliers around the world."
The satellite is based on SS/L's 1300 space-proven platform, which provides the flexibility to support a broad range of applications and technology advances. When TerreStar-1 reaches its geostationary orbital slot at 111.0 degrees West longitude, Space Systems/Loral will have 57 GEO satellites on orbit.
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