First Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite launched

Inmarsat has successfully launched the first Global Xpress satellite, Inmarsat-5 F1, at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The satellite was launched on a Proton Breeze M rocket on the 8th December and was correctly acquired by the Inmarsat Paumalu station at 17:48 GMT. Over the coming two weeks, the Inmarsat controllers will command the satellite to perform seven chemical burns to raise it to its geo-synchronous elliptical orbit. By the end of December, the satellite will have completed deployment of its solar arrays and reflectors. This will be followed by the electrical orbit-raising phase, taking the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of February.

The satellite weighed over six metric tons at lift-off and has 89 Ka-band beams. It is designed to generate approximately 15 kilowatts of power at the start of service and, to generate the power, the spacecraft's two solar wings – claimed to be a similar span to a Boeing 737 – each employ five panels of ultra-triple-junction solar cells.

“The successful launch of this satellite means that we are well on track to providing the world’s first globally available, high speed mobile broadband service in 2015,” commented Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation.

The launch signals a milestone in the development of Inmarsat’s global mobile broadband service, GX Aviation. Inmarsat-5 F1 is part of a US$ 1.6 billion investment into the next generation of global mobile broadband communications.

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