Launch date for Inmarsat's delayed Global Xpress spacecraft
Inmarsat hopes to get its latest spacecraft into orbit at the end of the month. It has been waiting on a review of the Russian Proton rocket, which failed on its last outing while carrying a Mexican payload. Inmarsat's third Global Xpress platform was to be the next passenger and was grounded as a consequence.
Inmarsat is the world's largest mobile satellite services operator. Its principal customer base is the shipping sector, but the company also caters for any groups that need telecommunications away from a fixed line. These include oil and gas installations, the aviation sector, armed forces, aid agencies and NGOs in disaster areas, and TV news crews reporting from trouble zones.
Its new £1bn GX network is the biggest commercial UK space project in the process of being rolled out right now. It is designed to incorporate three spacecraft distributed around the globe to give worldwide coverage. Two have already gone up, to relay telecommunications from Asia all the way across to the Americas.
Inmarsat's new spacecraft operate at a higher frequency than their previous platforms. The upcoming launch should complete the network over the Pacific, and give customers seamless coverage wherever they are - something that is especially important to the shipping and aviation sectors.