Inmarsat-5

Inmarsat’s fifth generation, Ka-band satellites power Global Xpress (GX) – the world’s first and only globally available, mobile, high-speed broadband service delivered through a single, wholly-owned network to ensure seamless connectivity. GX is transforming whole industries by offering highly reliable, fully scalable connectivity solutions for users on land, at sea, and in the air.

The Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellites were built by US manufacturer Boeing, based on its powerful 702HP platform. The first three I-5 satellites were launched between December 2013 and August 2015, with global commercial service starting in December 2015.

As part of Inmarsat’s US$1.6 billion programme commitment, a fourth Global Xpress satellite – I-5 F4 – was launched in May 2017 to provide additional capacity.

  • I-5 body – approximately 7m
  • Solar arrays – wingspan of 40.6m
  • Spot beams – 89 fixed and six steerable to direct additional capacity where it is needed
  • Launch mass – 6,100kg
  • Mission lifespan – approx. 15 years

A Very High Throughput Satellite (V-HTS), constructed by Thales Alenia Space, will boost GX capacity even further across key geographical areas. The combination of the latest satellite technology and a focus on areas of high demand will further enhance the customer experience. The fifth I-5 satellite is targeted for launch at the end of 2019.

European Aviation Network

Inmarsat’s S-band satellite (S EAN) powers the European Aviation Network (EAN), set to transform connectivity for airline passengers in Europe.

EAN combines satellite coverage with a complementary air to ground network to deliver cost effective, scalable capacity precisely where it’s needed across all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway. Developed in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, the network will give European aviation a cutting edge inflight connectivity experience.

Built by France’s Thales Alenia Space, the S-band satellite was launched by Arianespace as part of a dual payload ‘condosat’ in June 2017 and is positioned at 39° East. It has been fully operational since September 2017.

  • S EAN body – 6m
  • Solar arrays – wingspan of 37m
  • Spot beams – 9
  • Launch mass – 5,800kg
  • Mission lifespan – approx. 17 years

Inmarsat-4

Our award-winning Inmarsat-4 (I-4) series of satellites established the world’s first global 3G mobile network.

They are responsible for delivering our L-band broadband services, including BGAN, FleetBroadband and SwiftBroadband, as well as IoT and voice services.

The first three Inmarsat-4 (I-4) satellites were launched into geostationary orbit from 2005-8. They were built by an international team of space technologists from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the USA and Canada, with European satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium as the lead contractor.

Based on the Eurosat E3000 spacecraft bus, each satellite can generate up to 19 wide beams and more than 200 narrow spot beams. In 2010, the I-4 satellite design and capability won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert Award for innovation.

In July 2013 Inmarsat launched Alphasat (I-4A F4) to supplement the I-4 fleet, providing coverage over Europe, the Middle East and Africa from its in-orbit location at 25° East.

Alphasat, at the time the largest European telecommunications satellite ever built, brought new capabilities including 50 per cent more accessible L-band spectrum and nearly 20 per cent more mobile communication channels.

The Inmarsat-4 fleet is expected to support our L-band services without the need for replacement well into the 2020s.

Inmarsat-3

The first generation to use spot-beam technology, the Inmarsat-3 L-band satellites were launched between 1996-98 to power maritime and aviation communication and safety services.

Although three of the five satellites are still in service, we are migrating operational services across to our I-4 fleet throughout 2018.

For the latest information on the migration programme, click here.

The future: Inmarsat-6

Inmarsat’s sixth-generation (I-6) fleet will be the most powerful and flexible mobile communication satellites ever launched, and the first to feature dual-payload satellites, each supporting L-band and Ka-band (Global Xpress) services.

The I-6 satellites represent a step change in the capacity of our L-band services and will support a new generation of capabilities, from advanced global safety services and very low cost mobile services to Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The Ka-band payload will add further depth to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) constellation, augmenting our global coverage with greater capacity in regions with the highest demand.

Two I-6 satellites are being constructed by Airbus Defence and Space. In an exciting development in our launch plan strategy, we have signed our first agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).