Successful testing on Thuraya-1
In little more than a month following its launch, the Thuraya-1 satellite has successfully completed its In-Orbit-Test (IOT) phase. During IOT, Thuraya's C-band antenna, solar wings and 12-meter-diameter L-band reflector were deployed and tested, and the telephone test calls on the Thuraya-1 satellite have been conducted.
Thuraya 1, a turnkey space-based mobile communications system, was built for Thuraya by Boeing Satellite Systems Inc. (BSS), formerly Hughes Space and Communications Company, and now part of The Boeing Company.
"The culmination of IOT testing is a critical milestone for the program," stated Tig Krekel, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. "The satellite is operating beautifully and we have now entered the overall system integration and verification phase."
During the next few months, Boeing engineers will test the other major elements of the Thuraya system including the communications gateway, billing subsystem, network operation center and mobile phones. Service is due to start in the first half of 2001 when Boeing hands over the system to Thuraya.
Thuraya-1 was launched on October 20 by a Sea Launch Zenit rocket. Thuraya will provide satellite-based mobile communications and payphone services to approximately 1.8 billion people in 100 countries across the Middle East, North and Central Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and other parts of Asia.
This was the first satellite launched under the BSS name, as well as the first in the Boeing GEO Mobile (GEM) line. The GEM satellites are geosynchronous spacecraft derived from the high-power Boeing 702 series, providing services to mobile users via GSM-compatible cell phones.
The $960 million Thuraya contract was signed on September 11, 1997. It included the manufacture of two high-power GEM satellites; launch of the first spacecraft, insurance, the primary gateway, and user handsets. The second satellite is a ground spare, and there is an option for a third.
The Thuraya primary gateway includes a collocated network operations center, communications gateway, and satellite control facility in the United Arab Emirates. Thuraya-1 is among the most powerful satellites orbited to date, with 13.5 kilowatts. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)