Global mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat has successfully launched the company’s fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) fleet.

Named GX5, the satellite was on-board the Ariane 5 launch vehicle that took off from the Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA-3) in Kourou, French Guiana.

Designed to provide additional, focused broadband capacity over Europe and the Middle East, the GX5 will enter commercial service early next year.

Once the satellite is elevated to a geostationary altitude of approximately 36,000km above Earth, the teams from Inmarsat and Thales Alenia Space will deploy the satellite’s solar panels and antenna reflectors.

This will be followed by testing and standardisation before entering commercial service.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said: “This marks the first of eight launches in the coming four years that will grow our world-leading services to meet rapidly expanding demand, connecting people around the world to reach their full potential.

“GX5 will also continue to ensure that Inmarsat’s thousands of Global Xpress customers remain at the cutting-edge of global connectivity technologies as their needs evolve.

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“We now move on to manoeuvring GX5 into its orbit and carrying out the necessary tests prior to its deployment early next year, delivering additional next-level high-speed broadband services to our customers in Europe and the Middle East.”

GX5 will focus on providing services for aviation passenger Wi-Fi system, commercial maritime market and the increasing demand from the government.

The satellite is built to be more capable than the existing four Global Xpress network (GX1-GX4) satellites combined.

GX5 will be complemented by seven additional advanced GX payloads in the next four years.