With rapidly changing communications connectivity needs, Inmarsat has launched I-6 F1, the first of seven new Inmarsat satellites to be launched by 2024, a key part of the telecommunications giant’s platform to deliver ELERA ( L band) and Global Xpress (Ka band) for the Indo-Pacific.
Inmarsat has confirmed the successful launch of its first Inmarsat-6 (I-6 F1) satellite by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
The Inmarsat-6s (I-6) are Inmarsat’s very first hybrid L-band and Ka-band satellites, incorporating increased capacity and new technological advancements for ELERA’s transformational L-band services, as well as the additional capacity to Global Xpress (GX) high speed broadband. By adding to an existing global fleet of 14 geostationary satellites, they extend Inmarsat’s commitment to mission-critical services while enabling a new generation of pioneering technologies to connect and support the world. This launch is the first of seven planned for Inmarsat by 2024 in the company’s fully funded technology roadmap.
The I-6 F1 is comparable in size to a London double-decker bus, with a deployed solar panel wingspan similar to that of a Boeing 767 and a 9m wide L-band reflector that will be deployed over the next days. The satellite will then be placed into geostationary orbit (GEO) approximately 36,000 km (~ 22,500 miles) above Earth via its all-electric propulsion system, and undergo a thorough and comprehensive test program. The I-6 F1 will enter service in 2023. Ground stations in Western Australia will support the I-6 F1.
The new capabilities of the I-6 are designed to deliver greater capacity and coverage, higher speeds and a larger portfolio of innovative connectivity solutions for ELERA and Global Xpress (GX) networks. The I-6 satellites, like all Inmarsat ELERA and GX spacecraft, are backward compatible with existing terminals, ensuring that current and future customers will continue to benefit from further advancements.
- Listen to Ronald Spithout, President of Inmarsat Maritime, discuss I-6 and its role in creating the “Satcom Highway to enable maritime digitization and IoT solutions” in a recent interview with Maritime Reporter TV: