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Mission type Communication
Operator TerreStar Corporation
COSPAR ID 2009-035A
SATCAT no. 35496
Mission duration 15 years
Spacecraft properties
Bus LS-1300S
Manufacturer Space Systems Loral
Launch mass 6,910 kilograms (15,230 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 1 July 2009, 17:52 (2009-07-01UTC17:52Z) UTC
Rocket Ariane 5ECA
Launch site Kourou ELA-3
Contractor Arianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geostationary
Longitude 111° West
Perigee 35,778 kilometers (22,231 mi)
Apogee 35,806 kilometers (22,249 mi)
Inclination 4.00 degrees
Period 23.93 hours
Epoch 21 January 2014, 09:03:45 UTC[1]
Band E/F-band
Coverage area Canada
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 most massive single satellite launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, and the largest commercial communications satellite ever built at the time of its launch,[4] surpassing the previous two records, both set by ICO G-1 in 2008. Terrestar-1 has since been surpassed in size by the launch of SkyTerra in November 2010, formerly known as Mobile Satellite Ventures.

TerreStar was launched at 17:52 GMT on 2009-07-01,[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, is currently under construction and will be used as a ground spare per the Federal Communications Commission guidelines.[3]

Following TerreStar's file 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 $150,000 USD 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. ^ "Integration of Ariane 5 is completed for its upcoming heavy-lift launch with TerreStar-1". Arianespace. 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  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. 

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