Inmarsat launches third I-4 sat

Inmarsat's BGAN broadband satellite system is officially global with the launch of its third Inmarsat-4 satellite.

The I-4 F3 satellite was launched on an ILS Proton Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Tuesday morning.

The satellite will undergo a period of deployment and several weeks of comprehensive tests and maneuvers before being positioned in geostationary orbit at 98º West, Inmarsat said in a statement.

All three of Inmarsat's I-4 satellites will undergo some repositioning to provide optimal coverage for its BGAN-based services like FleetBroadband and SwiftBroadband.

The repositioning is expected to cause slight service disruptions for existing customers, although Inmarsat will manage affected customers and ensure back-up communications are in place for the interim.

Even though the BGAN service has been limited to regional coverage, Inmarsat's service suite has performed well. Earlier this month, Inmarsat posted better-than-expected second quarter results, with a 14-percent rise in revenue driven in part by strong growth in BGAN data services, particularly for in-flight call systems for business and government jets and maritime broadband.