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Mission typeCommunication
OperatorTerreStar Corporation
COSPAR ID2009-035A
SATCAT no.35496
Mission duration15 years
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerSpace Systems Loral
Launch mass6,910 kilograms (15,230 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date1 July 2009, 17:52 (2009-07-01UTC17:52Z) UTC
RocketAriane 5ECA
Launch siteKourou ELA-3
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude111° West
Perigee altitude35,778 kilometers (22,231 mi)
Apogee altitude35,806 kilometers (22,249 mi)
Inclination4.00 degrees
Period23.93 hours
Epoch21 January 2014, 09:03:45 UTC[1]
Coverage areaCanada
United States

TerreStar-1 is an American communications satellite which was operated by TerreStar Corporation. It was constructed by Space Systems/Loral, based on the LS-1300S bus, and carries E/F band (IEEE S band) transponders which will be used to provide mobile communications to North America. The signals are transmitted by an 18-metre (59 ft) reflector on the satellite.[2] It had a launch mass of 6,910 kilograms (15,230 lb),[3] making it the second most massive single satellite launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, and the second largest commercial communications satellite ever built. Its record as the most massive communication satellite was surpassed by Telstar 19V launched on Falcon 9 on July 21, 2018, with a mass of 7,076 kilograms (15,600 lb).[4]

TerreStar was launched at 17:52 GMT on July 1, 2009,[5] during a two-hour launch window that opened at 16:13.[6] The launch occurred towards the end of the window due to bad weather in the first hour, followed by two aborted countdowns for launch attempts scheduled at 17:12 and 17:34. The launch was conducted by Arianespace, and used an Ariane 5ECA carrier rocket, flying from ELA-3 at the Guiana Space Centre. After launch, the satellite separated from the carrier rocket into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. It will subsequently raise itself into geostationary orbit by means of its onboard propulsion system. It will be positioned at 111° West longitude, and is expected to operate for 15 years.[3] A second satellite, TerreStar-2 (now EchoStar XXI), is currently under construction and will be used as a ground spare per the Federal Communications Commission guidelines.[3]

Following TerreStar's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a movement had been formed by the NGO A Human Right to purchase TerreStar-1 and to use it to provide free basic Internet access to developing countries. The team was looking for US$150,000 in donations to put the first phase of their plan into action.[7] However, after successfully bidding $1.375 billion for the acquisition of the TerreStar-1 satellite in a bankruptcy-court auction[8] Dish Network on August 22, 2011 asked the Federal Communications Commission to let the company use the wireless spectrum of TerreStar to offer its own wireless broadband service.[9]


  1. ^ "TERRESTAR 1 Satellite details 2009-035A NORAD 35496". N2YO. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  2. ^ Bergin, Chris (2009-07-01). "LIVE: Ariane 5 ECA launches with the giant TerreStar-1 satellite". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  3. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "TerreStar 1, 2". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  4. ^ Graham, William (July 21, 2018). "SpaceX Falcon 9 sets new record with Telstar 19V launch from SLC-40". NASAspaceflight.com.
  5. ^ "A new generation for mobile satellite communications". Spaceflight Now. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  6. ^ "Ariane 5 soars to another heavy-lift success in lofting the TerreStar-1 mobile communications satellite". Arianespace. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  7. ^ "Buy This Satellite - Connect Everyone". ?. 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  8. ^ "Bankruptcy court OKs Dish Network's buy of TerreStar". Denver Business Journal. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  9. ^ "Boeing 787 nears debut". The Sun News. 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2011-08-25.[permanent dead link]

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