Satnews Daily
November 14th, 2010

ILS Sends SkyTerra 1 Soaring — Brings To Life LightSquared's™ Next Gen Network (Launch)

Successful launch of SkyTerra 1 telecommunications satellite.
[SatNews] International Launch Services (ILS) successfully launched the SkyTerra 1 telecommunications satellite enabling LightSquared to bring to life the creation of its next-generation, nationwide network that will be among the world’s first to combine satellite and terrestrial technologies. ILS sent the satellite via their veteran Proton-M launch vehicle and Breeze-M upper stage on Sunday.

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems built the 702HP satellite designed for geomobile services that lifted-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch was on schedule at 17:29 GMT, ahead of over nine hours of flight until the spacecraft is placed into orbit. The satellite will be located at 101.3 degrees west longitude and is expected to have a service life of 15 years.

From the formation on July 20 of this year of the company, LightSquared™ has been moving forward very rapidly as a new nationwide 4G-LTE wireless broadband network, integrated with satellite coverage that will revolutionize communications in the United States.

The major force behind LightSquared is Philip Falcone, founder and chief executive officer of Harbinger Capital Partners, who foresaw the explosive demand for wireless broadband connectivity generated by new devices and the mobile Internet. To meet this demand and make his plan a reality, Falcone made several investments through the Harbinger funds, including the acquisition of SkyTerra Communications, Inc., now part of LightSquared.

As the nation’s first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network, LightSquared will provide wireless broadband capacity to a diverse group of customers, including retailers; wireline and wireless communication service providers; cable operators; device manufacturers; web players; content providers; and many others. 

The LightSquared network will allow these partners to offer satellite-only, terrestrial-only, or integrated satellite-terrestrial services to their end users. This wholesale-only business model ensures LightSquared has no conflict of interest with its customers. LightSquared seeks to transform the wireless broadband industry to one that fosters innovation, creativity, and freedom of choice via the first truly open and net neutral wireless network.

The Breeze-M upper stage is the Phase III variant, with Sunday’s launch being the sixth flight of the new configuration for the avionics bay. The Phase III upgrade uses two new high-pressure tanks (80 liters) to replace six smaller tanks, along with the relocation of command instruments towards the center in order to mitigate shock loads when the additional propellant tank is being jettisoned.

The Proton M will be utilizing a 5-burn Breeze M mission design, after lifting off from Pad 39 at Baikonur. The first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the SkyTerra 1 satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. The Breeze M will perform planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the SkyTerra 1 satellite is scheduled to occur approximately 9 hours, 14 minutes after liftoff.