Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications, announced that it has resumed construction of Wildblue-1, the world's first commercially dedicated, all-Ka-band, multiple spot beam, broadband satellite for Wildblue Communications Inc., Denver, CO. Wildblue recently announced that INTELSAT, Liberty Satellite and Technology Inc., the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and David Drucker, Wildblue chairman, agreed to invest $156 M in the company, which will allow Wildblue to enter commercial service in 2004 and complete its investment in the Wildblue-1 satellite.
"Space Systems/Loral is proud to be at the forefront of providing the most advanced and reliable satellite technology to operators around the world," said C. Patrick DeWitt, president, Space Systems/Loral. "The continuation of the Wildblue project will provide important and timely broadband services to users across North America."
Wildblue is designed to provide consumers and small businesses in the US fast and affordable two-way wireless Internet access using a mini-dish antenna. Wildblue-1 is currently scheduled to launch aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
Wildblue-1 will generate more than 10 kW of power at beginning of life, and will cover North America with 41 overlapping Ka-band spot beams. Eight tracking antennas on board the satellite provide precision pointing of the beams over the contiguous US. The 4.7 metric ton spacecraft will operate from the 109.2 degrees west longitude orbital position. Wildblue-1 is based on SS/L's 1300 satellite platform and is designed to achieve a long, useful life, in this case, over 12 years. The satellite achieves excellent station keeping and orbital stability by using bipropellant propulsion and momentum-bias systems. A system of high efficiency solar arrays and batteries provides uninterrupted electrical power. In all, SS/L satellites have amassed nearly 1000 years of on-orbit service.