We have lift-off for Global Xpress – the world’s first worldwide Ka-band mobile satellite system. The first satellite – Inmarsat-5 F1 – entered commercial service on 30 June 2014.
The satellite is now powering Global Xpress services in 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. Each I-5 satellite is expected to have a commercial life of 15 years.
This will be the first time a commercial operator has utilised Ka-band radio frequencies to deliver a global satellite service.
The satellites operate with a combination of fixed narrow spot beams that enable us to deliver higher speeds through more compact terminals, plus steerable beams so additional capacity can be directed in real-time to where it’s needed.
A fourth I-5 is on order from Boeing for delivery in late 2016 as part of the US$1.6 billion programme commitment by Inmarsat. It will provide an early available spare in the unlikely event of a launch failure of any of the first three, but in the event the satellite is not required as a launch spare, Inmarsat is developing an incremental business case to support the launch of the fourth satellite to increase capacity and strategically enhance network coverage.