Advanced Television

Inmarsat-6 F2 arrives in Florida

January 31, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Airbus Space & Defence has delivered Inmarsat’s next satellite to Kennedy Space Centre for its launch. The satellite manufacturer used one of its Airbus ‘Beluga’ super-large transport aircraft for the journey.

Launch is due later in February by SpaceX.

The second satellite of the Inmarsat-6 generation is based on Airbus’ ultra-reliable Eurostar E3000 spacecraft and will be the 58th Eurostar E3000 built by Airbus. It will be the ninth Eurostar in orbit that is equipped with electric propulsion for orbit raising.

François Gaullier, Head of Telecommunications & Navigation Systems at Airbus, said: “I-6 F2, with its sophisticated digitally processed payload, will join Inmarsat-6 F1 (I-6 F1) in orbit giving Inmarsat even more flexibility, capability and capacity. This is the 10th geo-telecommunications satellite we have built for our long-term customer Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communication services, and with I-6 F1 the satellites will enable a step change in the capabilities and capacity for their ELERA services, and deliver significant additional capacity for their Global Xpress network.”

Inmarsat-6 F1 and I-6 F2 each feature a large 9m aperture L-band antenna and six multi-beam Ka-band antennas, giving a high level of flexibility and connectivity. They also carry new generation modular digital processors to provide full routing flexibility over up to 8000 channels and dynamic power allocation to over 200 spot beams in L-band, per spacecraft. The Ka-band spot beams are steerable over the full Earth disk, with flexible channel to beam allocation.

They are also the next step in the company’s plans for the world’s first multi-dimensional network, Inmarsat ORCHESTRA, which is the satellite operator’s proposed low Earth orbit constellation. The ‘network of networks’ will build on Inmarsat’s existing space-based capabilities to provide a transformational growth in capacity and new features for customers into the 2030s and beyond.

The first Inmarsat-6 was orbited in December 2021 and has been undergoing in-orbit testing over the past year. It will fully enter service early in 2023.

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

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