16/05/2017 – News / Inmarsat / Communications / Global Xpress
Inmarsat confirms successful launch of 4th GX satellite
Inmarsat – the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications – has confirmed the successful launch of the fourth, high-speed broadband communications satellite in its transformational Global Xpress (GX) constellation.
Inmarsat GX is the world’s first globally available, broadband connectivity service, and was created to enable communities across the world to benefit from the emerging digital society.
Weighing in at 6,100kg, the Inmarsat-5 F4 (I-5 F4) satellite was launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket. Heavier than a double-decker bus and representing the heaviest payload launch yet for SpaceX, launching Inmarsat’s latest satellite required Elon Musk’s space company to increase the capacity of its Falcon 9 rocket.
The launch took place on Tuesday 16th May at 00:21 (BST) / 19:21 (ET) from the historic launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Following satellite separation at 00:53 (BST) / 19:53 ET, Inmarsat acquired telemetry from its Perth ground station at 01:04 BST / 20:04 ET.
The launch team from Inmarsat and Boeing Network & Space Systems (the manufacturer of I-5 F4) are now raising the spacecraft to a geostationary orbit, at which point the satellite will deploy its solar arrays and reflectors, and undergo payload testing.
Guaranteed global connectivity
I-5 F4 joins the three GX satellites already in orbit, which have, since December 2015, been delivering unprecedented service speeds, global coverage, reliability and security to users on land, at sea and in the air. The fourth satellite adds further capacity to the GX network, as well as in-orbit redundancy that further upgrades the reliability and resilience of Inmarsat’s service offerings.
“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.
“I would like to thank all my colleagues at Inmarsat, whose hard work and dedication is seeing Global Xpress setting a new standard of excellence for broadband communications in established VSAT markets, such the maritime and government sectors, while also rapidly gaining strong traction in new market areas, such as the rapidly expanding aviation passenger connectivity sector,” he continued, adding: “I also wish to extend my sincere thanks to our satellite manufacturing partner Boeing and our launch partner SpaceX for delivering a successful launch outcome.”