Elon Musk’s SpaceX is again winning launch contracts. July 3rd saw an order from Inmarsat and Space Norway for SpaceX’s sixth launch contract of the year to date. Launch is expected in 2022.
The contract covers two satellites to be built by Northrop-Grumman using their GeoStar-3 version craft. Each satellite weighs some 2000 kgs. They will not be for conventional geo-stationary use but will be placed into highly-elliptical orbits.
Inmarsat will lease the available Ka-band frequencies while Space Norway will use X-band for military use and coverage over the Artic region.
These frequencies will be integrated into its Global Xpress suite of services for – amongst other demands – aircraft communications and broadband connectivity. Known officially as the Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM), Space Norway has partnered with satellite operator Inmarsat and the Norwegian Ministry of Defense to provide connectivity to civilian and military users in and around the Arctic.
Additionally, the US Air Force will have its own communications payloads on both satellites, rounding out what has been described as an extremely busy mission.