02 December 2013: Preparations for the launch are now in full swing with the Inmarsat-5 satellite (I-5 F1) encased in the payload fairing.
The fairing will protect the spacecraft for the first few minutes after its launch into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The two halves of the fairing together form the satellite’s ascent unit, which will now be mated to the Proton M rocket launch vehicle.
Inmarsat and International Launch Services (ILS) have confirmed the launch date of the I-5 F1 at 12.12 GMT on Sunday 8 December.
I-5 F1 is the first of three satellites which will power Inmarsat’s new Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) network, offering high-speed mobile and fixed broadband services around the world at speeds of up to 50Mbps.
“Global Xpress is the result of three years of planning and, together with a fourth GX satellite we ordered recently from Boeing, represents an investment of US$1.6 billion in our next generation of high-bandwidth, high-capacity, mobile broadband communications satellites,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat.
“It will ensure our satellite services fully support the current and future needs of end-users across the world – whether on land, at sea or in the air.”
The GX fleet is on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014.
The launch of Inmarsat-5 F1 can be watched live online at http://inmarsat5f1.imgondemand.com/ on 8 December.
Inmarsat GX: www.inmarsat.com