Advanced Television

Inmarsat demos test satellite for Orchestra

December 20, 2021

By Chris Forrester

London-based Inmarsat has successfully tested a demonstration payload for its Orchestra low Earth orbiting (LEO) concept.

Orchestra calls for a constellation of LEO satellites which, says the company, will create a global, multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network that will redefine connectivity at scale with the highest capacity for mobility worldwide and at hot spots across the world.

“It will deliver the fastest average speeds and the lowest average latency of any network, planned or in existence,” claims Inmarsat.

While details of the in-orbit testing remain confidential, Inmarsat has confirmed that the LEO demonstration satellite payload is testing concepts for LEO-to-ground and LEO-to-GEO communications, which are key steps in delivering the unique capabilities proposed for Orchestra. As the LEO satellite features a reprogrammable payload, additional concepts will be tested over the coming months.

Rajeev Suri, CEO/Inmarsat, said: “Customers have expressed great excitement about Inmarsat’s Orchestra network and we are making fast progress to bring that network to reality. Development of the terrestrial network is proceeding well and we are now moving forward with live tests of Orchestra’s LEO layer.”

“Our vision for Orchestra is a network that uses the right technology for the right purpose. We are not beholden to a single approach and believe that the best way to meet customer needs is a multidimensional approach that includes GEO, LEO and terrestrial 5G in a dynamic mesh that brings capacity to where it is needed in the most efficient way possible. Today’s announcement is yet another testament to the fact that Inmarsat is a company with commercial momentum and technology leadership,” added Suri.

Yasrine Ibnyahya, Inmarsat’s Senior Director, Advanced Concepts and Technologies, said: “Our demonstration LEO satellite payload is designed to create new technologies and services that will transform the use of satellite communications by our mobility and government customers worldwide. Using software defined radio payloads in LEO, we are able to test, refine, retest and validate as many concepts as we need. It is a quick, agile and highly economic approach that enables us to meet our ambitious targets for rolling out key components for Inmarsat Orchestra.”

Inmarsat is in the process of being acquired by California-based Viasat.

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