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Satnews Daily
May 18th, 2009

Preparing to Launch TerreStar-1 the Big Boy of Satellites from French Guiana

firefox001 If you like articles that have to do with breaking records for being the biggest, fastest or whatever, here's one for you.

The world's largest commercial satellite ever to be launched has arrived in French Guiana, where the TerreStar-1 spacecraft will be readied for Arianespace's late June mission aboard a dedicated Ariane 5.

The large shipping container with TerreStar-1 is unloaded after arriving at Cayenne’s international airport aboard an An-124 cargo jet.

TerreStar-1 was delivered to Cayenne's Rochambeau International Airport, making the trip from its U.S. production site in Palo Alto, California on an An-124 cargo aircraft.  After being unloaded from this four-engine jetliner in its protective container, the satellite was readied for transfer to Europe's Spaceport for the startup of pre-launch processing.

Built by Space Systems/Loral for TerreStar Networks, TerreStar-1 will use the 2-GHz spectrum with an antenna sized at nearly 60 feet across when fully opened.  It is designed to provide integrated satellite and terrestrial mobile services for critical communications, using conventionally-sized dual-mode handsets.

Once in orbit, TerreStar-1 will be capable of generating over 500 spot beams that cover the Continental U.S., Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.   

The upcoming TerreStar-1 flight will be Arianespace's third Ariane 5 launch of 2009, following last Thursday's (May 14, 2009) on-target mission to deep space with the Herschel telescope and Planck observatory for the European Space Agency; and the February 12 dual-payload success with HOT BIRD 10 and NSS-9 satellites for two of the world's leading satellite communications operators - Eutelsat and SES.