Last Friday, Inmarsat’s I-4 satellite was successfully sent into space from Cape Canaveral, FL on board an Atlas V rocket.
The size of a
The satellite will now undergo a complex series of post-launch tests and manoeuvres before being fully deployed in geostationary orbit, 36,000km above the
The main body of the new satellite was constructed in
The other main elements of the spacecraft – the antenna, the solar arrays and the 9m reflector – were manufactured in Canada, Germany, and the USA and transported to the EADS Astrium facility in Toulouse, France, for integration with the bus and payload.
Inmarsat currently intends to launch a second I-4 satellite in the third quarter of 2005, which will be located over the Atlantic Ocean at 53 degrees west and provide service for the Americas. The two I-4 satellites will then cover 85% of the world’s land mass.
When the two satellites are fully operational, currently expected in the fourth quarter of 2005, Inmarsat intends to launch its new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service. BGAN is an IP and circuit-switched service that will offer voice telephony and a range of high-bandwidth services, including Internet access, videoconferencing, LAN and other services, at speeds of up to 432kbit/sec.