London-based satellite operator Inmarsat has brought its latest satellite, GX5, into service. It is the 14th satellite currently in service with Inmarsat and provides additional capacity to Europe and the Middle East on the Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band high-speed satellite broadband service.
GX5 is coming in to service somewhat later than expected having originally been expected to start operations in “early 2020”.
The satellite, launched more than a year ago in November 2019, delivers approximately double the combined capacity of the entire existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4). Together with an expanded ground station network and enhanced cloud-based processing, GX5 supplements the global coverage of GX and supports the rapid growth in customer demand for GX services in the region, particularly for aviation connectivity, such as passenger Wi-Fi, as well as government and commercial maritime services.
Inmarsat’s planned roadmap will see a further seven launches by 2024, five in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in a highly elliptical orbit, which will begin the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service in the commercially and strategically critical Arctic region for ‘over the pole’ flights.
Inmarsat says that its GX fleet is the most successful service launch in the history of Inmarsat. The company will celebrate the fifth anniversary of GX as a globally available service in early 2021 and it has already become the gold standard for seamless, mobile broadband services across multiple sectors. Tens of thousands of active users throughout aviation, maritime, enterprise and government depend on GX daily, supported by Inmarsat’s network of technology, manufacturing and channel partners.
Commenting on the development, Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “As the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, we have an ambitious vision for the future and we are progressing the most innovative technology development programme in our history to achieve this. During these recent unprecedented circumstances, we have supported our partners and customers with the speed and agility for which Inmarsat has become known globally. We are in this for the long haul, with customer and partner trust based on four-decades of meeting our commitments and a bright future ahead, guided by our technology roadmap. Entry into service of GX5 is the first of several exciting steps ahead for us on that journey.”