Posted on: 17 October 2013 by Mark Howells
Boeing has completed the final stages of system level performance testing on the first Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) satellite, Inmarsat-5 F1 (I-5 F1), with an aim for launch in early December 2013.
I-5 F1 is the first of the three GX satellites which has undergone final testing at Boeing’s El Segundo Satellite Development Center before being shipped from Los Angeles International Airport to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The satellite is scheduled to fly on an Antonov An-225 heavy transporter in early November, in preparation for its December launch.
GX Aviation, Inmarsat’s Ka-band service for the aviation industry, intends to offer consistent high-speed connectivity for commercial and business aircraft throughout the world. It will deliver IP connectivity services of up to 50Mbps across the global spot beam coverage, providing capacity and bandwidth for enhanced connectivity services.
The ILS Proton Breeze M launch vehicle will take the 6,100Kg I-5 F1 spacecraft to geostationary transfer orbit. From there, the satellite will deploy its solar arrays, with a span similar to that of a Boeing 737. It will then be positioned in geostationary orbit above the Indian Ocean region, around 23,000 miles from earth, where the gravitational pulls of Earth, Sun and Moon balance each other.
“The GX Aviation programme is firmly on track within our current schedule of being available from early 2015,” commented Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation. “Under the expert control of the Boeing teams, the satellites are being manufactured and tested to the highest standards. The first launch is on schedule for late this year with full global coverage on course to be achieved by the end of 2014.”
Inmarsat recently triggered an option to purchase a fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite, under its existing contract with Boeing. The programme schedule from Boeing has a satellite delivery date of mid-2016.