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By | August 20, 2007

      Spaceway 3 Satellite Launched, Works Well, Boeing Announces

      The Boeing Co. [BA] sent and received the first on-orbit commands from the Spaceway 3 satellite following its successful launch.

      Data show that Spaceway 3 is healthy and operating normally.

      An Ariane 5 rocket lifted the Hughes Network Systems LLC payload into space Tuesday at 7:44 p.m. ET (23:44 GMT) from Ariane Launch Complex 3 in the tropics of Kourou, French Guiana.

      Boeing Mission Control Center in El Segundo, Calif., reported spacecraft acquisition five hours, 46 minutes later, when signals were received at the ground station in Hartebeesthoek, South Africa.

      “Flying more than 22,000 miles above North America, the Spaceway 3 satellite will allow Hughes Network Systems to provide existing and new customers with high-speed, two-way communications for Internet, data, voice, video and multimedia applications,” said Howard Chambers, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.

      Boeing manufactured the high-powered, 702 satellite operating in Ka-band to enable Hughes to provide customers a new range of broadband-via-satellite services throughout North America. That includes a digital processor, downlink phased array antenna, microwave switch matrix, and flight hardware and software that will provide point-to-point and point-to- multi-point connectivity to Hughes customers.

      Over the next several months, Boeing will work with Hughes to complete on-orbit testing and deployment of the Spaceway 132-foot solar arrays, as well as satellite check-out and system acceptance. Hughes then will place the satellite into commercial operation.

      CubeSat Mission Completed After April Launch, Boeing States

      The Boeing Co. [BA] completed the first phase of its nano-satellite research and experimentation, wrapping up the CubeSat TestBed 1 (CSTB1) mission.

      That spacecraft, launched April 17 from Baikonur Cosmosdrome in Kazakhstan, accomplished all primary mission objectives.

      Through experiments such as CSTB1, Boeing is evaluating a variety of technologies, design elements, and attitude determination and control approaches for future operational nano-satellites — spacecraft weighing less than 22 pounds (10 kg).

      Pico-satellites like CSTB1 weigh less than 3 pounds (1 kg).

      With the tiny spacecraft still fully operational, the program is entering an optional test phase to support additional experiments such as taking more photographs using CubeSat’s ultra-low power imager and evaluating non-traditional attitude control algorithms.

      “The extremely low cost and risk of CTSB1 allowed us to experiment with a range of more radical design elements that wouldn’t occur with a more traditional program,” said Scott MacGillivray, manager of Boeing Nano-Satellite Programs and CSTB1 program manager.

      Boeing collected more than 500,000 sensor data points from the test bed during the three-and-one-half-month mission and more than 1,650 orbits to date. Boeing will correlate the data with simulations and ground testing, apply it to development tools for future nano-satellites and assess the lifespan of several commercial off-the-shelf parts used on the spacecraft.

      Future design work will increase spacecraft performance in attitude determination knowledge and control accuracy, enable higher computational throughput and communications bandwidth, and support a wide range of specialized missions at which nano-satellites can excel, according to Boeing.

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