The "heaviest and most powerful telecommunications satellite ever launched" was yesterday carried aloft atop an Ariane 5 ECA lifter from the European Space Agency's Korou spaceport in French Guiana.
The 7,055kg TerreStar 1 blasted off at 17:52 GMT, destined for a geostationary orbit above North America. It will "operate in two 10-Mhz blocks of contiguous MSS spectrum in the 2 GHz band throughout the United States and Canada - with a spectrum footprint that covers a population of nearly 330 million".
TerreStar Networks CTO, Dennis Matheson, enthused: "With the successful launch of TerreStar 1, we are redefining the mobile communications landscape. We are creating a new paradigm in mobile broadband network services and devices that will leverage our integrated satellite and terrestrial communications components to enable true ubiquity and reliability - anywhere in the United States and Canada."
The company's new paradigm includes a recently-released "dual-mode smartphone", described as "the world's first quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA smartphone with integrated all-IP satellite-terrestrial voice and data capabilities".
The device will, TerreStar says, "allow users to seamlessly and securely stay connected to TerreStar's satellite and terrestrial network".