Los Angeles —The figure in the picture is no dwarf. It's a technician at Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS), formerly Hughes Space and Communications Co. BSS is building the 12.25-m (40-ft) reflector designed for geostationary satellites used in regional mobile communications. Known as the Boeing GEM spacecraft, it transmits and receives signals from an L-band feed array, which forms a large number of small spot beams whose position can be adjusted as phone traffic warrants. Composite materials provide a 78-kg (170-lb) reflector that compresses into a 1.3-m (50-inch) diameter 3.8-m (150-inch) long package for launch. The first GEM spacecraft is the Thuraya-1 satellite, which will be part of a mobile satellite system including the Arab world, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, and eastern Europe including Turkey.
Design collaboration now includes the entire value chain. From suppliers to customers, purchasing to outside experts, the collaborative design team includes internal and external groups. The design process now stretches across the globe in multiple software formats.
A new high-pressure injection-molding technology produces near-net shape parts with 2-inch-thick walls from high-performance materials like PEEK, PAI, and carbon-filled polymers. Parts show no voids, sinks, or porosity, have more consistent mechanical properties, and are stronger.
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