The newest edition to Inmarsat’s fleet will provide the satellite element of the integrated European Aviation Network (EAN), set to transform connectivity for airline passengers in Europe.
The Inmarsat S EAN multi-beam satellite is part of a condominium satellite, or ‘condosat’, constructed by Thales Alenia Space, which incorporates a second payload for Hellas-Sat fixed and broadcast satellite services.
Built on the Spacebus 4000 C4 platform, the condosat weighed about 5.8 tonnes at launch and offered payload power of approximately 12.7 kW.
It will be positioned at 39° East, providing EAN mobile satellite services in Inmarsat’s S-band spectrum allocation across all 28 member states of the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland.
|SATELLITE WEIGHT: 2,500KG (WITHOUT PROPELLANT)||SATELLITE BODY: AT 6M HIGH WITH A WIDTH OF 2M X2.4M, IT IS THE EQUIVALENT SIZE OF A SMALL BUS|
|THE SATELLITE COMPRISES MORE THAN 600 ELECTRONIC AND RADIO-FREQUENCY UNITS||TWO SOLAR ARRAYS: WITH A TOTAL WINGSPAN OF 37M ONCE ON-STATION|
|FOUR DEPLOYABLE ANTENNAS: THREE ANTENNAS WILL RECEIVE AND TRANSMIT SIGNALS FOR THE EAN NETWORK, COVERING THE DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS OF EASTERN EUROPE, CENTRAL EUROPE AND THE IBERIA PENINSULA. THE FOURTH ANTENNA IS FOR THE HELLAS-SAT MISSION|
|LAUNCH MASS: CLOSE TO 5.8 TONNES||SATELLITE MISSION LIFETIME: APPROXIMATELY 17 YEARS|
Arianespace launched the joint satellite from the ELA-3 launch zone at Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
The spaceport’s location close to the equator at 5.3° North latitude makes it ideally situated for missions into geostationary orbit. Launching near the equator reduces the energy required for orbit plane change manoeuvres, saving fuel and so enabling an increased operational lifetime.
The Inmarsat S EAN satellite was carried on an Ariane 5 rocket, Arianespace’s workhorse heavy-lift launch vehicle, which stands at 50.5 metres tall.
Following lift off, the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) teams from Thales Alenia Space (TAS), Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat will be on standby at the TAS Satellite Control Centre in Cannes, France waiting for the first telemetry acquisition, expected approximately 39 minutes into flight, which will be received from the Mingenew Ground Station in Australia.
A very long night is then in store for the spacecraft analysts and engineers, who will carry out a series of satellite health checks and manoeuvres, including sun pointing acquisition and solar array partial deployment.
After five days, apogee boost manoeuvres will be executed to reach geostationary orbit, when the solar arrays and antennas will be fully deployed and payload in-orbit tests carried out from our Nemea Satellite Control Centre in Greece. After in-orbit test completion, satellite control will remain in Nemea, with specific S-band EAN payload commands sent from Inmarsat’s Satellite Control Station at our London HQ.
The European Aviation Network (EAN) is the world’s first integrated satellite and air-to-ground service dedicated to providing a true inflight Wi-Fi experience for passengers flying across the busy skies of Europe.
Revolutionising the onboard experience, EAN will enable passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more on their smart devices in the same way as they expect to on the ground – all at 35,000 feet!
Inmarsat satellite connectivity will be combined with a 4G LTE-based ground network covering approximately 300 sites, operated by partner Deutsche Telekom. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery.
Designed specifically for high-traffic flight paths and busy airport hubs, and with International Airlines Group already signed up as launch customer, EAN will transform the passenger experience for millions of people who have been cut off from fast, reliable and consistent broadband access when they fly.
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