Inmarsat-5 and Global Xpress

We are launching the world’s first global Ka-band mobile satellite system, delivering high-speed broadband to compact user terminals at up to 50Mbps.

We call this pioneering network Global Xpress.

Global Xpress will be delivered through our next-generation Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellites, built by US manufacturer Boeing and based on its powerful 702HP platform.

The first Global Xpress satellite – I-5 F1 – entered commercial service on 30 June 2014, serving Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The second and third I-5 satellites are on course to launch by the end of 2014, with global coverage expected in the first half of 2015.

Alphasat and the award-winning I-4 series

With the launch of Alphasat in July 2013, Inmarsat became the commercial operator of one of the most technically advanced communications satellites ever flown into space.

The size of a London double-decker bus and with a total mass of more than 6.6 tonnes at launch, Alphasat is the largest European telecommunications satellite ever built.

Alphasat now supplements our ground-breaking Inmarsat-4 (I-4) series, which in 2010 was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert Award for innovation after all three I-4s established the world’s first global 3G network.

The Inmarsat-4 fleet are expected to support our L-band services without the need for replacement until the early-2020s.

Europasat to deliver S-band services

In 2014, Inmarsat appointed Thales Alenia Space to manufacture a new multi-band satellite, Europasat, which will be deployed in an orbital location over Europe.

Together with a purpose-built ground-to-air network stretching across the continent, this will make up Inmarsat’s new Europe-wide aviation network.

This unique 4G mobile communications network will operate over 30MHz of the S-band to bring rich mobile broadband services to commercial and business aviation passengers travelling across Europe.

The aviation network will also be integrated with Inmarsat’s revolutionary Global Xpress (GX) service, enabling aircraft and passengers to roam seamlessly between the two networks and across the world.

Europasat, which is expected to be delivered towards the end of 2016, will also deploy a Ku-band payload exclusively for use by Hellas-Sat, which is sharing the cost of the programme.

The I-3 satellites: workhorses of the L-band fleet

The Inmarsat-3s – the first generation to use spot-beam technology – were launched between April 1996 and February 1998.

All five Inmarsat-3 satellites are currently in service. They were developed by prime contractor Lockheed Martin and payload provider Matra Marconi Space.

With an end-of-life power rating of 2,800W, each I-3 can deliver an EIRP (radiated power) of up to 48dBW, and can dynamically reallocate both RF power and bandwidth among a global beam and five spot beams, allowing greater reuse of the available spectrum.

Each I-3 also carries a navigation transponder designed to enhance the accuracy, availability and integrity of the GPS and Glonass satellite navigation systems.

The Inmarsat-3s are expected to remain in operation, providing communication and safety services in the L-band, until around 2018.

Inmarsat-2: first off the launchpad

Our first wholly owned satellites, the Inmarsat-2s, were built by an international consortium led by British Aerospace. They were launched in 1990-2 and, despite a planned design lifespan of 10 years, one I-2 still continues in active service today, more than two decades later.

The design of the Inmarsat-2, a three-axis-stabilised spacecraft, was based on the Eurostar platform. Each satellite had a 1.3 tonnes launch mass, reducing to an initial 0.8 tonnes in orbit. Initial power rating was 1,200W.