U.S. wireless broadband and satellite network Lightsquared, owned by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, announced the successful launch of its SkyTerra 1 commercial satellite.
The launch of the satellite, which is among the most powerful commercial satellites ever built, is a major step in the creation of LightSquared's next-generation network combining satellite and terrestrial technologies, the company said.
The satellite will enable integrated satellite-terrestrial service using products that are similar to today's typical mobile devices in terms of size, capabilities and build costs, Lightsquared said.
The Proton Breeze M vehicle lifted off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome at 12:29 p.m. EST Sunday, followed by spacecraft separation and on-schedule signal acquisition nine hours later at around 9:45 p.m. EST.
According to Lightsquared, the satellite, a Boeing 702HP built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, features a 22-meter L-band reflector-based antenna -- the largest commercial antenna reflector to be put into service.
LightSquared is launching the world's first truly integrated satellite-terrestrial network, combining our 4G-LTE terrestrial network with ubiquitous satellite coverage that will connect rural America and support emergency communications, said Sanjiv Ahuja, chief executive for LightSquared.
LightSquared has achieved a major milestone in the realization of our mission to revolutionize the wireless industry in the United States, Ahuja said.
By 2015, LightSquared expects to cover at least 92 percent of people in the U.S. with its wireless broadband network, the company had said earlier.