The mobile satellite service (MSS) is one of the services that were given spectrum on frequencies previously allocated to 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary services. TerreStar Networks is one of the companies planning to offer service in this band. The TerreStar-1 satellite, built by Space Systems Loral and based on its 1300 platform, is currently under construction and is scheduled for delivery in 2007. It features a large unfurlable reflector almost sixty feet across that will allow hundreds of spot beams to provide coverage to all fifty U.S. states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
The satellite will be powerful enough to communicate with terrestrial base stations and standard wireless devices, according to TerreStar. A recent FCC decision allows TerreStar to add an ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) to fill in coverage in urban canyons, dense forest or other areas blocked from the satellite's signal. Planned uses for the system include mobile voice and data communications, monitoring and messaging services.
The TerreStar investor group includes Motient Corporation, which built out the terrestrial data network used by some of the first RIM Blackberry devices, SkyTerra Communications, Columbia Capital and Spectrum Equity Investors.
For more information, see the Space Systems Loral news release Space Systems/Loral Begins Construction of TerreStar Satellite System and the TerreStar Networks release TerreStar to Construct the World's First Satellite That Can Communicate With a Cell Phone, which includes a link to a picture of the satellite and its large antenna at the bottom of the page.
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