ILS Proton Inmarsat-5 F1Lift Off

Mobile satellite communications services provider Inmarsat has successfully launched its first satellite in Global Xpress (GX) constellation, which is Britain’s largest commercial space project.

The Inmarsat-5 F1 was launched onboard a Proton Breeze M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8 December.

Separation of the spacecraft from the upper-stage of Proton Breeze-M was completed on 9 December.

Based on the commands from Inmarsat controllers, the satellite will perform seven chemical burns, to manoeuvre Inmarsat-5 F1 to a geo-synchronous orbit over the next two weeks, while it will have completed deployment of its solar arrays and reflectors just after Christmas.

The electrical orbit-raising phase will place the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit by the end of January and payload testing will start in February.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said that the successful launch of this first Inmarsat-5 satellite is a major landmark on our journey to deliver the world’s first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service.

"We are on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014."

"We are on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014," Pearce said.

The 6t satellite is part of a $1.6bn investment by Inmarsat into advanced mobile broadband communications and is the third Inmarsat satellite to be launched on a Proton.

It features 89 Ka-band beams and generates 15kWs of power at the start of service.

The Inmarsat-5 satellite series will provide mobile broadband communications for vessels at sea, in-flight connectivity for airline passengers, and streaming high-resolution video, voice and data, among others.

By the end of 2014, the fleet will comprise three satellites, offering a global Ka-band coverage from a single operator, with performance of up to 50MBps to mobile or fixed terminals.

Image: The spacecraft was launched on an International Launch Services Proton Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo: courtesy of International Launch Services (ILS).

Defence Technology