Inmarsat’s first GX satellite passes in-orbit testing

10 March 2014: Inmarsat’s first satellite in our game-changing Global Xpress (GX) constellation – Inmarsat-5 F1 – has successfully passed its month-long testing programme.

It means that the new Ka-band satellite is on course to achieve commercial service introduction by mid-2014,  serving Europe, the Middle East, Africa and East Asia.

The payload and platform testing was carried out with our partner Boeing Satellite Systems, who has now handed over the first of the four spacecraft it is constructing for Inmarsat.

Global Ka-band

The second and third Inmarsat-5 satellites are set to be deployed by the end of 2014 as part of a US$1.6bn investment programme.

Together, they will create the world’s first globally available Ka-band, mobile broadband satellite network – over land, sea and air.

Inmarsat’s technology partner iDirect has successfully completed factory acceptance testing and site acceptance testing of the infrastructure and VSAT technology that will be the foundation of all GX terminals.

Final phase

Before it can formally enter commercial service, Inmarsat and its partners will begin full, end-to-end tests of the radio access network (RAN) to make sure it meets all our specifications.

Rigorous testing will also be carried out on:

•    Services supported over the iDirect-based infrastructure
•    GX terminals being developed by Inmarsat’s GX manufacturing partners
•    New GX service offerings being developed by Inmarsat’s Value Added Resellers (VAR) network.

Important milestone

“Global Xpress is perhaps the most ambitious and exciting programme in Inmarsat’s history.

“The fact that we have passed these recent highly significant milestones on schedule is down to the immense dedication and skill of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress team and our partners Boeing and iDirect,” “said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat.

Craig Cooning, chief executive officer of Boeing Satellite Systems, said: “This delivery is the first of the significant milestones we expect to accomplish during this landmark year in the Boeing-Inmarsat relationship.”

Dave Bettinger, CTO of iDirect said: “The successful system testing demonstrates yet another substantial step forward in the commercial service introduction of GX.

“We look forward to equally successful completion of the final phases of over-the-air testing.”