SpaceX launches new communication satellite for Inmarsat


SpaceX has launched the new Inmarsat-5 F4 (I-5 F4) commercial communication satellite from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, US.

Lifted off by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the launch has placed the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit.

It took around 32min for the Falcon rocket to eject the I-5 F4 from its upper-stage.

The latest mission has also seen the involvement of a US-based company to launch a satellite by a UK-based operator for the first time.

The I-5 F4 is the fourth satellite of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) constellation, a Ka-band satellite network that currently provides high-speed mobile broadband services worldwide.

The I-5 F4 will also enable the Inmarsat’s GX network to offer expanded capacity to its clients.

“I expect we'll become clear on the early business applications of the satellite around the end of the summer.”

The 6t I-5 F4 satellite will offer voice, video and data services to the on-the-move customers and people living in remote areas.

The satellite would also be used as a spare to the three primary satellites of the GX constellation.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce was quoted by BBC as saying: “You could say it's something of a 'Swiss Army Knife' for us, and that's a nice position to be in.

“I expect we'll become clear on the early business applications of the satellite around the end of the summer.”

The company currently owns various orbital slots in the geostationary arc situated around 36,000km above the equator.


Image: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off the Inmarsat-5 F4 (I-5 F4) satellite into space. Photo: courtesy of SpaceX.