Inmarsat's Alphasat I-4A F4 satellite has achieved a major milestone with the successful deployment of its wing-like solar arrays.
The spacecraft has now reached geosynchronous orbit and is drawing power from the Sun.
The four-panel solar array – which spans almost 40 metres (131 feet) – will generate more than 12kW of power.
Alphasat has been under the remote control of Inmarsat's Mission Operations Team in Toulouse, France, since the first telemetry signal was acquired at the Inmarsat ground station in Beijing – just 20 minutes after the launch by Ariane 5 from French Guiana on 25 July.
The critical task of boosting the satellite into geosynchronous orbit required firing the spacecraft's powerful liquid apogee engine four times – with each burn using the equivalent of 60 tanks of car fuel.
The final operational deployment will see the blooming of Alphasat's 11-metre (36-ft) reflector on 3 August.
Alphasat joins Inmarsat's award-winning I-4 satellite fleet, which has been powering global broadband connectivity for government and commercial customers in the L-band since 2009.
The new satellite will provide additional mobile satellite communications capacity over Europe, the Middle East and Africa.