Air & SpaceScience

Second Global Xpress satellite launched

Proton M Rocket

Inmarsat (a UK satellite telecommunications company) has launched the second Global Xpress satellite (I5 series) into a super-synchronous transfer orbit at 04:02 GTM on Monday. It is 7m long and weighs 6.1 tonnes.

The satellite was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on board a Proton M rocket.

Global Xpress is Inmarsat’s next generation constellation (the I5’s). There will be 4 satellites in total.

The Global Xpress project is currently the biggest single commercial investment in the UK with a total investment of £1bn ($1.5bn).

Currently the satellite is in a super-synchronous transfer orbit which takes it out to 65,000km away from Earth, however over the next few days the satellite will be moved into a stationary orbit around 36,000km from Earth.

The satellite will be used to serve customers in the Americas and Atlantic regions.

Inmarsat is a dominant force in the so-called Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) market, its primary customer base is the shipping industry however it’s fastest growing customer base is Aviation. The Company caters for any group which requires mobile telecommunications.

Last year Inmarsat used the information obtained by its satellites to help investigators search for the Malaysian Airlines MH370 plane which was lost in the Indian Ocean. As a direct result the company now offers free basic tracking for all long-haul flights.

The Global Xpress satellites use Ka frequencies – The first for the company. It’s older Satellites use L-band frequencies. The company says there is more room to grow its business in Ka frequencies.

The Ka frequencies allows for faster throughput, giving the I5 satellites broadband speeds 100 times faster than the older (I4) generation of satellites.

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