Inmarsat, a top-tier provider of global mobile satellite communications, has achieved a significant milestone in upgrading its communications availability in the Asia-Pacific region. Experts at the company successfully connected their I-6 F1 satellite to new ground stations located in Western Australia.
I-6 F1 was launched in December 2021 and has spent seven months travelling to geostationary orbit above the Atlantic, utilizing its all-electric propulsion system. After rigorous in-orbit testing during the second half of 2022, the spacecraft has finally at its final orbital slot over the Indian Ocean. The company will start increasing its capacity and transition services to the new satellite in 2023, beginning with the first customers from Q2.
The announcement comes after the successful launch of I-6 F1’s twin – I-6 F2 – which lifted off from Cape Canaveral in February. I-6 F2 will reach its geostationary orbital slot later year like F1, where it will undergo in-orbit-testing. The satellite will offer operational service over Europe, Africa, and much of the Americas in mid-2024.
The I-6 satellites are built in the UK and are the most technologically advanced commercial communications satellites ever launched. These are the company’s first hybrid satellites, having both L-band (ELERA) narrowband and Ka-band (Global Xpress) high-speed broadband communications payloads.
Each of the I-6 satellites offer 50% more L-band capacity as compared to Inmarsat’s entire 1-4 generation of ELERA satellites, thereby effectively doubling its total ELERA capacity. They also provide 20 Ka-band spot beams directed to meet customer demand second-by-second.
The announcement expands the range of features available on Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA communications network, that is a one-of-a-kind, worldwide, multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network that redefines connectivity at a large scale with exceptional mobility capacity. By leveraging ORCHESTRA, Inmarsat’s customers and partners can stay ahead of their growing data requirements and position themselves to leverage emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and air taxis.
Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat said: “We are seeing rising demand for our services across the board, as airlines offer faster services for passengers, shipping companies use automated navigation, and industries aim to decarbonise through the Internet of Things.”
“Our I-6 satellites are designed to meet that demand into the 2040s over two of the busiest regions in the world, as we enable a smarter, more connected society. Having double the beams, 50% more spectrum per beam and double the power of our I-4 satellites, the I-6s’ advanced processors can match customer demand as and where it is needed in real-time.”