Thuraya Spacecraft reaches orbit

As the Thuraya spacecraft reached its geosynchronous orbit, news filtered through back to earth that the on board AstroMesh reflector was fully operational

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By  Barnaby Chesterman Published  December 7, 2000

About a month and a half after its launch in October, the Thuraya spacecraft finally reached its geosynchronous orbital position. Just a few hours later the AstroMesh reflector was unfurled and, following on-orbit testing of its surfaces, ground measurements indicated that it was performing nominally.

The Thuraya spaceship was launched by Sea Launch Zenit rocket back on October 20, as revealed in the December issue of Arabian Business.com. Thuraya will provide a braod range of satellite-based mobile telecommunications in 2001 to millions of users across the Middle East, North and Central Africa, Europe, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

TRW Astro Aerospace president, James Conlan, was delighted the reflector had successfully been deployed aboard the Thuraya spaceship and was working. “As the first in oyr line of AstroMesh reflectors to have been launched, we are very pleased that the Thuraya reflector is demonstrating excellent on-orbit performance,” he said.

“This reflector, with its combined transmit/receive antenna, provides users with the largest and lightest weight solution for geomobile applications. We expect that AstroMesh reflectors will be the enabling technology for many advanced satellite communications programmes.”

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