We have launched the world’s first global Ka-band mobile satellite system, delivering high-speed broadband to compact user terminals on land, at sea and in the air, through a single operator.
We call this pioneering network Global Xpress.
Global Xpress is 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 1 July 2014, serving Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The second satellite successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodorome in Kazakhstan on 1 February to deliver regional GX services for the Americas and Atlantic Ocean Region and the third satellite in the constellation (I-5 F3), launched on 28 August 2015 to deliver regional GX services for the Pacific Ocean Region.
As part of Inmarsat’s US$1.6 billion programme commitment, a fourth Global Xpress satellite (I-5 F4) is currently completing construction and testing by Boeing in California, and is likely to be launched in the second half of 2016 in order to provide additional GX capacity.
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.
The Inmarsat-3s – the first generation to use spot-beam technology – were launched between April 1996 and February 1998.
Four of the 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.
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, our final I-2 satellite continued in active service until December 2014, 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.
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