I-5 F4 launch underscores Inmarsat’s commitment to resilience

18 May 2017

Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, SVP, Government Strategy & Policy, Inmarsat U. S. Government Business Unit

  • government
  • us-government

  • global-xpress

It is an exciting time for Inmarsat. On May 15, we successfully launched a fourth Global Xpress satellite, the Inmarsat-5 F4 (I-5 F4). I-5 F4 was launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket from the historic launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Built by Boeing, this fourth satellite adds further capacity and coverage to the Global Xpress network, as well as in-orbit redundancy that further upgrades the reliability and resilience of Inmarsat’s service offerings.

On a more personal level, this launch was particularly meaningful to me since I have worked on the Global Xpress government program from concept all the way to full global deployment and have seen our critical government users benefit from its industry-unique capabilities. And now to watch the successful launch of I-5 F4 from the U.S., on SpaceX, and knowing the unique capabilities it brings is both personally and professionally extremely rewarding.

This fourth satellite in the Global Xpress fleet is demonstrative of Inmarsat’s unparalleled commitment to resilience and to our customer base, including U.S. government users. While some in our industry make dramatic claims regarding their future ambitions in Ka-band and high-throughput satellite (HTS) capabilities, Inmarsat has once again demonstrated its commitment and strength with a global capability on orbit and in use supporting critical mobile users today and well into the future.

Inmarsat delivers assured worldwide connectivity, supported by on-orbit and ground station redundancy and L/Ka-band hybrid solutions for even greater resilience and frequency diversity – all from one trusted operator and a rich set of trusted partners and value added resellers (VARs). Our network infrastructure brings reliable, assured access built to meet or exceed cybersecurity best practices, overseen by a dedicated cybersecurity team.

The successful launch of I-5 F4 adds robustness to the Global Xpress network which is owned and managed 24/7/365 by Inmarsat, the U.S. government’s #1 trusted provider of satellite mobility communication services. It is the only worldwide commercial satellite network interoperable with and augmenting government MILSATCOM Ka-band systems right alongside of SATCOM as a Service, thus, allowing users to benefit from superior capability, portability, flexibility and resilience:

  • Three satellites – the Inmarsat-5 F1, F2 and F3 – are in operational use over the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Ocean regions, providing seamless connectivity around the world. Available through multiple trusted U.S. government VARs, the award-winning satellites have served the government since July 2014. 5F4 will complement the global coverage with additional network capacity to support regions of highest demand.
  • Global Xpress’ ground network features six fully operational secure Satellite Access Stations (SAS) in NATO or Five-Eye countries only, with two geographically redundant SAS sites for each satellite ensuring resilience and redundancy. Inmarsat supports each SAS with redundant fiber connectivity that travels only through Allied nations.
  • Inmarsat’s three Meet Me Points (MMP) are connected by a global fiber ring and enable diverse paths for traffic backhaul.
  • A broad selection of compact and affordable terminals is available in mobile, portable and fixed formats from industry-leading manufacturers for maritime, aero and land expeditionary environments, in both commercial and military form factors.

This successful launch of 5F4 underscores that Inmarsat consistently combines innovation and dedication to advance the state of resilience within our satellite communication offerings. With this, military customers can be confident that their missions are supported by reliable, available, and resilient seamless, state-of-the-art SATCOM capabilities that are fully interoperable with their owned and operated government systems– wherever and whenever they need it.

It was truly extraordinary to watch Inmarsat-5 Flight 4 blasting into orbit. A satellite that represents the fruition of a concept into full reality.  Job well done Team Inmarsat, Boeing and SpaceX!


About the author

Rebecca M. Cowen-HirschRebecca M. Cowen-Hirsch is Inmarsat Senior Vice President for Government Strategy and Policy in the United States Government (USG) Business Unit, based in Washington. Ms. Cowen-Hirsch brings 25 years of defense, aerospace, and executive leadership experience to Inmarsat. As a decorated member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) in the U.S. Department of Defense, she served as the Program Executive Officer for SATCOM, Teleport and Services at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and in several key SES executive positions including the first Vice Component Acquisition Executive for DISA, with executive management responsibility for the acquisition oversight and horizontal integration of DISA’s products, services, and programs. Ms Cowen-Hirsch established the Defense Spectrum Office, serving as its first Director where her responsibilities included the development of national security spectrum strategic plans and policy, and national and international negotiation of defense spectrum issues. Her broad defense career ranged from systems engineering, experimental flight test, program management, spectrum management, and a wide range of executive leadership positions. Ms. Cowen-Hirsch was a rated experimental flight test engineer; was the first female civilian Mission Commander for the Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft (ARIA) mission, and was the recipient of an Exemplary Service Medal for her years of selfless service to the Department of Defense. Ms Cowen-Hirsch has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, conducted post-graduate studies in Engineering Management, and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Space Institute Experimental Flight Test Program; the DoD’s Acquisition Management Program; and the Cambridge Senior Executive Leadership Program.

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