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.
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