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TerreStar: Today's Satellite Launch A Success

Mike Musgrove

It's official: The Reston-based satellite company TerreStar is now, actually, a satellite company.

TerreStar, which I wrote about today, successfully launched its new satellite from French Guiana at a few minutes before 2 pm Washington time. The launch was delayed for over an hour, as a result of local weather conditions. With a 65-foot span, TerreStar-1 is the world's largest commercially-launched satellite.

A few months from now, after a few months of initial testing, TerreStar plans to introduce a new satellite phone and service that will use AT&T's network when it's in range of that carrier's terrestrial towers -- or TerreStar's satellite service when a user is in a more remote area. The company has not yet announced prices for the service.

"My heart is still pounding a little bit," said TerreStar Jeffrey Epstein, who admitted that the launch was a little "nerve wracking" as he spoke to employees around the world via Webcast. "This is really just the beginning of the story for TerreStar."

Aaron Lewis, the Washington-based director of media and government relations at Arianespace, Inc., the French company that oversaw the launch of the rocket carrying the new satellite also attended the launch.

"TerreStar had everything riding on this launch so the stakes were beyond high and there was no margin for error," said Lewis via text message. "It is pretty gratifying to deliver for a new customer under these tight circumstances."

TerreStar-1 launch.JPG

By Mike Musgrove  |  July 1, 2009; 1:23 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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