Northrop Grumman Corporation’s AstroMesh deployable reflector system successfully deployed aboard the Inmarsat Limited I-4 satellite launched March 11 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

On March 25, following a release command by ground controllers, the nine-meter (30-feet) diameter AstroMesh furlable mesh reflector and boom support system successfully deployed. Further radio frequency testing will confirm that the shape and pointing of the reflector are as expected. This is the first of three reflectors delivered by Northrop Grumman’s Astro Aerospace unit for EADS Astrium, and is the fourth AstroMesh reflector to be deployed in space.

The reflector provides a key part of the antenna system used by the spacecraft to provide broadband Internet communications. The antenna sensitivity enabled by the large reflector allows the use of mobile, laptop-size modems by users in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“This achievement underscores our commitment to reliable space deployable products,” said Tom Romesser, vice president of technology development for Northrop Grumman Space Technology. “Our AstroMesh reflector is an enabling technology for this new service.”

In addition to EADS Astrium, Astro Aerospace has built five AstroMesh reflectors for other space companies, three of which are already in operational service in orbit, Romesser noted.

Astro Aerospace, based in Carpinteria, is a business unit of Northrop Grumman Space Technology, a leader in the development of space, defense and electronics systems. For more than 40 years, Astro Aerospace has pioneered the technology of space deployable structures including AstroMesh furlable antennas and reflectors, truss masts, telescopic booms, storable tubular extendible members and planar array deployment. It has a 100 percent success rate on hundreds of flight-specific deployable units.