Ariane takes giant comms satellite into space

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US company Terrestar used an Ariane rocket to blast the world's biggest commercial satellite into space.

The satellite is intended to give phone coverage to areas in North America that can't get service otherwise.

The Terrestar-1 satellite will connect to Terrestar phones that use the satellite and give both talk and data services, although the phones are not available yet.

The satellite is set to orbit 22,000 miles above our planet and was built by Loral Space.

It's not the first time that a company has attempted to provide such services - Iridium and Globalstar launched satellites at the beginning of the century but both companies went bust.

Before the launch of the satellite, Terrestar inroduced quad band and triband WCDMA/HSPA smartphones with integrated satellite-terrestrial voice and data capabilities.

The spectrum footprint will cover nearly 330 million people in North America, operating in two 10MHz blocks of contiguous MSS spectrum in the 2GHz band.

The phone looks something like a Blackberry. It specs are here.

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