Inmarsat's chief executive Rupert Pearce has applauded the British government's decision to invest £1.2bn into space technology over the next five years.
It follows an announcement by Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that the UK is to increase its funding to the European Space Agency (ESA).
The UK currently invests an average of £170 million (US$270 million) a year in ESA – which will rise to an average of £240 million (US$382 million) a year during the next five years.
“Inmarsat welcomes the Chancellor's recognition that the UK is a world-leader in satellite design and commercial applications,” said Rupert.
“We applaud the Government's strategic approach to our industry and its recognition that UK Space already contributes £9 billion per year to the economy. The decision will support innovation, create further growth and encourage skills within our economy.
“The Chancellor's decision mirrors our own to invest US$1.5 billion over the next two years to deliver the Alphasat and Global Xpress programmes. This will ensure the UK's continued leadership in satellite delivered voice, data and safety services.”
The Alphasat I-XL satellite will supplement Inmarsat's current series of I-4 satellites and support a new generation of mobile communication technology across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
In addition, a new constellation of Ka-band satellites, the Inmarsat-5s, is scheduled for launch in 2013-14. They will form the backbone of Inmarsat's Global Xpress network, offering broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps around the world.