Launch of Inmarsat-5 F4 Satellite Successful
On Monday, May 15th, 2017 Inmarsat successfully launched its fourth Boeing built Ka-band satellite from the Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Inmarsat-5 F4 is part of the Global Xpress initiative to connect aircraft, ships at sea, and mobile users on land through an umbrella of worldwide Ka-band beams. The Ka-band for the Global Xpress system offers improved downlink communications speeds to 50 megabits per second, with up to 5 megabits per second on the uplink side.
It will take F4 approximately two months to reach its geostationary orbit – more than 22,000 miles above the Earth’s equator. Originally manufactured as a spare, Inmarsat 5 F4 will add more throughout to the Global Xpress network, and Inmarsat could relocate the satellite during its life to cover different regions.
“Whether it’s going to stay (over Europe) for long — long meaning most of its life — or not, that will depend on the other deployments we’re doing and the market demand,” said Michele Franci, Inmarsat’s chief technology officer. “But right now, that’s the area we expect to initially deploy it.”
“Because it’s not needed (for) complete global coverage, the role of Inmarsat 5 F4 could change through its life,” said Tony Bates, Inmarsat’s chief financial officer, “And obviously, they are for in-orbit redundancy, which would limit it if it was needed for that purpose.”
“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.”