Thales wins $130m deal from Inmarsat to build new communication satellite


The Thales Alenia Space joint venture (JV) between Thales and Leonardo has entered a $130m deal with Inmarsat to build a new Global Xpress (GX) communication satellite.

Once built, the very high-throughput satellite (VHTS) is scheduled to be launched by 2019 to offer services across the Middle East, Europe and the Indian subcontinent.

Forming a part of Inmarsat’s existing GX high-speed global broadband network, the new satellite will be equipped with 72 Ka-band beams.

Thales will use its Spacebus B2 enhanced platform to build the satellite, which will have a lifespan of16 years.

The GX satellite will weigh less than 4t at launch and offer a payload power of 6.8kW.

"With this new satellite, Inmarsat will broaden its footprint, deliver significant resources for broadband services and set a new benchmark for flexibility in high throughput satellites.”

Following the launch of the new satellite, Inmarsat will be able to extend its GX aviation service for Qatar Airways in-flight connectivity (IFC) requirements.

Delivered over the Ka-band spectrum, Inmarsat’s GX service is developed and optimised for mobility services.

Thales Alenia Space telecommunication business line vice-president Bertrand Maureau said: “Thales Alenia Space is proud to partner with Inmarsat to create an advanced satellite, which will  provide additional capacity to support growing demand for aviation passenger Wi-Fi services across the EMEA and Indian subcontinent.

“The global, mobile broadband satellite network operated by Inmarsat incorporates satellites with the latest very high-throughput satellite technology. With this new satellite, Inmarsat will broaden its footprint, deliver significant resources for broadband services and set a new benchmark for flexibility in high throughput satellites.”

Last month, the JV announced that it would supply its Argos Neo instrument for the nano-satellite demonstrator Argos Neo on a Generic Economical and Light Satellite (Angels).

Developed by Thales Alenia Space in collaboration with Syrlinks, Argos Neo is a miniaturised data collection instrument that is capable of demonstrating the operational capability of a complex miniaturised instrument.