Inmarsat-5 F3 arrives at launch site in Kazakhstan

01 May 2015: The third Global Xpress (GX) satellite – Inmarsat-5 F3 (I-5 F3) – has arrived safely at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in anticipation of its launch later this month.

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The satellite left the Boeing El Segundo facility in Los Angeles, California, on 29 April on board an Antonov AN-124 heavy transporter.

When combined with I-5 F1 and F2, both already in geostationary orbit, I-5 F3 will allow Inmarsat to offer seamless, global GX coverage, which is planned to commence in the second half of the year. 

High-speed service

Inmarsat is investing $1.6bn in the development and delivery of Global Xpress, the world’s first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service, delivered through a single network operator. 

It will deliver broadband speeds up to 100 times faster than the company’s fourth generation (I-4) constellation and offer new opportunities for end-users in government, maritime, aviation, enterprise and the third sector.

Global Xpress is set to significantly enhance connectivity and access to bandwidth-hungry applications, even in the remotest and most inaccessible regions of the world.

Significant milestone

Michele Franci, CTO of Inmarsat, said: “We are approaching the completion of our GX constellation and the arrival of Inmarsat-5 F3 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome is another significant milestone.

“This project represents a major commitment by Inmarsat and its successful completion and the start of global commercial services later this year, will bring to life the prospect of the Internet of Everywhere. For the first time, this will deliver seamless, superfast broadband communications across the globe – on land, sea and in the air – from one single operator.”

Inmarsat’s fifth generation satellites – which form the GX network – have all been built by Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc. in California.

Multi-regional coverage

Inmarsat-5 F1 was launched in December 2013 and entered regional commercial service in July 2014, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. 

Inmarsat-5 F2, launched on 1 February, will provide superfast broadband GX services for the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean regions.

Each of the three satellites in the initial GX fleet has 89 beams and six steerable high-power spot beams for multi-regional coverage. The GX satellite weighs 6100kg at launch with a wing-span wider than a Boeing 737. All three have a design life of 15 years.