Inmarsat said the launch of the third satellite for its Global Xpress (GX) constellation was successfully carried out over the weekend, completing the network and putting the company back on track with plans to provide high-speed mobile broadband services across the globe by the end of 2015.
Inmarsat-5 F3 (I-5 F3) was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and has now entered orbit. The successful launch comes only a few months after Inmarsat was forced to delay the third satellite following the failure of a Proton rocket launch in May.
Over the coming weeks, Inmarsat will raise I-5 F3 to its final orbit, deploy its solar arrays and reflectors, and undertake payload testing. The satellite services company said the I-5 F3 will then be ready to join the first two GX satellites, which are already in orbit.
Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: "We have been working towards this day ever since we announced plans to create the Global Xpress constellation in 2010. I am delighted that we now have three Global Xpress satellites in orbit, enabling us to provide global GX services by the end of the year."
As part of the $1.6 billion (€1.4 billion) programme, a fourth Global Xpress satellite (I-5 F4) is also currently under construction by Boeing in California, and is on schedule for completion in mid-2016.
The company said the new GX network will be able to provide broadband speeds that are "an order of magnitude faster" than the fourth generation (I-4) constellation, with downlink speeds of up to 50 Mbps and uplink speeds to 5 Mbps. The services will be primarily targeted at customers on the move on land, at sea and in the air. Inmarsat describes Global Xpress as the "first high-speed broadband network to span the world."
The first Global Xpress satellite -- Inmarsat-5 F1 -- was launched in December 2013 and entered commercial service in July 2014, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. This was followed by the launch on Feb. 1 this year of Inmarsat-5 F2, which covers the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean and entered commercial service in August. The third GX satellite will cover the Pacific Ocean Region.
- see the Inmarsat release
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