TerreStar Granted Second Milestone Extension by FCC

By | November 14, 2008 | Feature, Telecom

[Satellite News 11-14-08] The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a request by TerreStar Networks for further extensions of the company’s launch and operational milestones, TerreStar announced Nov. 14.
    The latest in a series of delays requested by TerreStar pushed the satellite launch deadline from Sept. 30 to June 30 and the operational milestone from Nov. 30 to Aug. 30.
    The most recent delay granted by the FCC and Industry Canada (IC) were in October 2007, when the organizations granteed Terrestar an extension of its satellite launch date from November 2007 to September. IC, in September, granted a request by TerreStar Networks Canada for a similar extension of its remaining milestone requirement to Aug. 30, 2009.
    TerreStar said it had requested the extensions because of certain manufacture and delivery issues experienced by its satellite vendor Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) during the construction of the satellite component of TerreStar’s next generation mobile communications network. TerreStar announced June 30 that the launch of the TerreStar-1 satellite could be pushed into the second quarter of 2009 due to damaged sustained during construction.
    According to TerreStar, the spacecraft’s reflector sustained damage during manufacturing at Harris Corp., a subcontractor to prime contractor SS/L. The companies did not provide detail of the damage, but in June 29 letter, SS/L informed TerreStar that it could confirm that TS-1 will be ready to ship to the launch provider in April. TerreStar had planned to place the satellite in orbit in an October slot aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Arianespace.
    After the incident, TerreStar said it would seek an additional milestone extension from the FCC and IC. "TerreStar greatly appreciates the grant of the extension requests by both the FCC and IC," Jeffrey Epstein, president of TerreStar, said in a statement. "We will continue to maintain momentum and focus on realizing our vision of North America’s first IP-enabled integrated satellite-terrestrial mobile broadband network," he said.
    TerreStar said progress on the construction of the TerreStar-1 satellite has reached a very advanced stage at SS/L’s facilities in Palo Alto, Calif. The S-band feed array has recently completed final testing and is being integrated onto the satellite. The S-band reflector, being constructed by Harris Corp. in Palm Bay, Fla., recently completed its first hands-free deployment.
    According to TerreStar, ground support systems are also progressing, including acceptance of the North Las Vegas feeder link facilities and construction of the telemetry monitoring, tracking, and control facilities in Allan Park, Ontario.
    "We continue to achieve tremendous progress and solid performance with TS-1," TerreStar CTO Dennis Matheson said. "We are now finalizing the TS-1 satellite control network to support launch which is expected in June 2009," he said.
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