Airbus has signed a contract with Inmarsat, a global player in mobile satellite communications, to design, manufacture and build the first in their next generation of geostationary Ka-band satellites, Inmarsat GX7, 8 & 9. The three satellites are the first to be based on Airbus’ new OneSat product line, which is fully reconfigurable in orbit.
Featuring on board processing and active antennas, the three Ka-band spacecraft will be able to adjust their coverage, capacity and frequency. They will deliver power and bandwidth dynamically in real-time to adapt to Inmarsat’s requirements to provide HTS (High Throughput) broadband connectivity for the mobility market.
Airbus’ highly innovative OneSat is based on a standard, modular and design-to-manufacture approach, and can be delivered more quickly than existing telecommunications satellites.
Airbus’ Head of Space Systems, Nicolas Chamussy said: “We are launching the OneSat product line for our customer Inmarsat, following the successes of the Airbus-built Inmarsat-4 spacecraft, Alphasat and the Inmarsat-6 satellites, which are currently under construction. This latest contract continues the long standing innovation relationship between Airbus and Inmarsat. OneSat is a truly disruptive product, both from a manufacturing, and operational point of view, which allows Airbus to offer our customer a market enabling solution with reduced cost and time to orbit.”
“OneSat’s high flexibility, very compact design and fast production approach perfectly fits our ambition for our next generation GX spacecraft,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat. “The new satellites will support the growth of the Global Xpress mobility services, in particular to service emerging ‘hot spot’ regions worldwide. The GX7, 8 & 9 satellites will represent the next evolution of HTS technology incorporating new highly flexible capabilities which can be deployed very quickly to support the rapid evolution of the traffic growth from year 2023 onwards.”
The ‘ready-made’ OneSat satellite relies on Airbus’ heritage from its highly reliable Eurostar telecommunications satellites plus its experience in mega-constellation manufacturing.
The investments made by Airbus and its partners in very innovative OneSat developments are supported by the European Space Agency and national agencies, in particular the UK and French space agencies.