Inmarsat-6 ships to Japanese launch site
November 23, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Inmarsat-6, built by Airbus (and the first Inmarsat to be built by Airbus) has been shipped from the Airbus facility in Toulouse to Tanegashima in Japan ready for launch.
The satellite will operate in both multibeam Ka-band and L-band and will use a huge 9 metre antenna for its L-band services. It also houses an exceptionally large ‘next generation’ digitally processed payload giving greater flexibility to Inmarsat.
This first satellite of the Inmarsat-6 series is due to be launched on an H-IIA launch rocket built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) next month. Inmarsat-6 F1 is based on Airbus’ Eurostar E3000 spacecraft and will be the 54th Eurostar E3000 launched. It will be the fifth Eurostar in orbit that is equipped with electric propulsion for orbit raising reinforcing Airbus’ position as a major leader in electric propulsion.
The new generation modular digital processor on the satellite provides full routing flexibility over up to 8000 channels and dynamic power allocation to more than 200 spot beams in L-band. Ka-band spot beams will be steerable over the full Earth disk, with flexible channel to beam allocation.
Inmarsat is in the process of being acquired by Viasat of California.
François Gaullier, Head of Telecom Systems at Airbus, said: “Inmarsat-6 F1 features one of the most sophisticated digitally processed payloads we have ever built and delivers remarkable flexibility, capability and capacity. As a long serving supplier to Inmarsat, having built the Inmarsat-4 and Alphasat satellites, Airbus is proud to continue helping keep Inmarsat at the top of its game with this step change in capability brought by Inmarsat-6.”