Antenna in Space to Provide 4G Wireless Service

A new communications satellite that aims to provide 4G wireless mobile services to potentially millions of subscribers in the United States is heading for the launch pad.

Boeing today announced that it has shipped the LightSquared SkyTerra 1, a high-capacity mobile communications satellite, from the company's integration and test complex in El Segundo to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Upon arrival, the satellite will undergo final preparations for a Nov. 14 launch.

SkyTerra 1 is a Boeing satellite designed for geomobile services. It will combine with four gateway ground stations and ground-based beam-forming equipment to create the first of two space-based networks that Boeing is building for a company called LightSquared (formerly SkyTerra).

LightSquared is building a new wholesale-only nationwide 4G-LTE wireless broadband network integrated with satellite coverage that the company states will revolutionize communications in the U.S.

LightSquared’s SkyTerra 1 satellite features a 72-foot (22-meter) L-band reflector-based antenna – the largest commercial antenna reflector to be put into service, according to a statement from Boeing.

The antenna will offer state-of-the-art digital signal processing, channel formation and switching.

"LightSquared's SkyTerra 1 next-generation satellite, with its 22-meter diameter reflector, will allow for connectivity to mobile devices with a similar form factor, battery life and performance to conventional cellular phone devices," said Jeff Snyder, senior vice president of satellite engineering and operations for LightSquared.

The SkyTerra 1 SBN will enhance the availability of mobile communications across geographic areas and supply greater bandwidth – improving access to wireless devices such as cell phones, PDAs and laptop computers.

"The shipment of the SkyTerra 1 satellite is an important step toward bringing LightSquared and its mobile wireless partners services that are accessible anytime, anywhere, throughout the United States," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "Boeing's experience in space-based systems solutions and integrated ground assets will enable LightSquared to provide new services in new markets."

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Live Science Staff
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