SkyTerra-1 Launch Adds Mobile Capabilities Over the United States
LightSquared sees the launch of SkyTerra-1 as a major step in combining satellite systems and 4G-LTE terrestrial networks and a peek into the future of the North American consumer market.
Launched Nov. 15 by International Launch Services (ILS) on a Proton Breeze M vehicle from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, SkyTerra-1 sent its first signals nine hours after separating from the launch vehicle, kicking off its mission to expand the level of coverage throughout the United States. LightSqured, created in March when Harbinger Capital acquired SkyTerra, is working with Nokia Siemens Networks to build and operate a 4G-LTE satellite and mobile broadband network for wireless providers.
“SkyTerra-1 is a key asset,” SkyTerra spokesman Tom Surface said in a statement. “It holds the advantage in several areas. It has more power, more capacity and more capability than satellites that have been launched up to this point. The satellite’s spot beams are also state-of-the-art and can be moved to cover different parts of a region. It can have more than 500 spot beams working at the same time.”
The satellite, based on Boeing’s 702 high-power platform model, was designed with SkyTerra’s service development strategy in mind. The satellite’s L-band reflector-based antenna is 22-meters long — the largest commercial antenna reflector to be put into service, according to SkyTerra. This development strategy focused on key technology partnerships to ensure that it would be able to support a wide range of new capabilities when the satellite was launched.