SpaceX Rocket Launches Inmarsat High-Speed Communications Satellite into Orbit

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May 16, 2017

The I-5 F4 satellite is launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, May 15, 2017. Photo credit: Inmarsat

Satellite communications company Inmarsat (LON: ISAT) has confirmed the successful launch of the fourth and final high-speed broadband communications satellite making up its Global Xpress (GX) constellation.

Inmarsat GX is the world’s first service offering worldwide high-speed broadband connectivity for land, sea, and air uses.

The fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite, known as I-5 F4, was launched by SpaceX aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 19:21 ET Monday evening from the historic launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Inmarsat said it picked up the first data from satellite about a half hour later.

On Tuesday, the launch team from Inmarsat and Boeing Network & Space Systems, the manufacturer of I-5 F4, were in the process of raising the spacecraft to a geostationary orbit, at which point the satellite will deploy its solar arrays and reflectors, and undergo payload testing.

I-5 F4 joins the three Ka-band GX satellites already in orbit and providing global commercial coverage since since December 2015. The fourth satellite, part of Inmarsat’s US$1.6 billion programme commitment, adds further capacity to the GX network, as well as in-orbit redundancy. Each I-5 satellite is expected to have a commercial life of 15 years.

“For Inmarsat, reliability and resilience are paramount,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat. “Delivering global commercial services over the GX network, which we achieved at the end of 2015, was only the start of our Global Xpress project. I-5 F4 augments the capabilities of GX and, alongside our existing L-band constellations, enables Inmarsat to provide guaranteed global connectivity to industries and governments worldwide.”

The GX constellation serves as the basis for Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress maritime communications service, which recently achieved commitments to connect more than 10,000 ships at sea with high-speed broadband service in its first year of service. 


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