Boeing Finishes Deployment of Stuck SkyTerra 1 Antenna

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PARIS — Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems on Dec. 14 announced that the 22-meter-diameter L-band antenna on the SkyTerra 1 mobile broadband satellite had been successfully deployed after a problem that had threatened to torpedo the mission.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Boeing said that all SkyTerra 1 systems are healthy, and that further satellite checkout procedures will continue “over the next several months” before the satellite, which was launched Nov. 14, is handed over to its customer, LightSquared of Reston, Va. LightSquared is owned by New York hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners.

“We assembled a core team of experts, and today’s success is one that we share with Harris Corporation, the supplier of the antenna, and with our customer, LightSquared,” Craig Cooning, general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, said in a Dec. 14 statement. “Although the occasional delay in full deployment sometimes occurs on a satellite, it is not a situation we face very often. Today’s success is due to the talented men and women at Boeing and their unparalleled expertise in operating satellites and in creatively and successfully resolving the issue.”

LightSquared is building a multibillion-dollar network to provide mobile broadband throughout the United States using radio frequencies available to it only if it maintains a functioning satellite to serve customers outside the reach of its terrestrial network.

“We congratulate the Boeing, Harris and LightSquared teams who have worked diligently over the past week to successfully deploy the SkyTerra 1 L-band reflector,” Martin Harriman, LightSquared executive vice president of ecosystem development and satellite business, said in a statement. “We look forward to Boeing’s completion of in-orbit testing of the SkyTerra 1 satellite and handing [it] over to us in early 2011. LightSquared is proceeding on schedule with its rollout of the nation’s first integrated wireless broadband and satellite network.”

 

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