Inmarsat gets largest satellite up

Satellite operator Inmarsat has announced the successful launch of Alphasat, its largest bird to date, from a base at Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.

The company claims Alphasat is “one of the most technically advanced telecommunications satellites ever constructed for civilian applications,” weighing in with a $350m investment from Inmarsat.

The project is the largest Public-Private-Partnership space project in Europe, between the European Space Agency and Inmarsat to create new services and jobs but was also an initiative to develop a new spacecraft platform (Alphabus) capable of carrying a large state of the art communications payload.

Satellites are relied on by the world’s shipping, oil exploration, defence, aviation and media industries and are becoming increasingly popular in both mature and developing markets as a means of backhauling small cell connections in remote or rural areas.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Alphasat will strengthen our existing I-4 series satellite constellation, providing coverage over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The launch demonstrates Inmarsat’s long-term commitment to L-band services.”

The team will place the satellite into its final geostationary orbit position on Friday night, with the satellite set to be in operation on July 31.


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