Inmarsat Introduces New Payloads for Arctic Satellite Coverage
Wednesday, July 03, 2019 | Comments

Inmarsat plans to introduce two new satellite payloads dedicated to the Arctic region in a partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT.

The new Global Xpress (GX) payloads support the rapidly growing demand among both commercial and government users for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile broadband services in the Arctic and throughout the world.

In commercial markets, the GX Arctic payloads are designed to specifically address the needs of merchant fleets, fishing vessels, commercial airlines and the energy market, where high-speed mobile broadband connectivity is driving both major operational and efficiency improvements and supporting the introduction of new business models.

For the government sector, the new GX payloads will provide continuous, assured communications to tactical and strategic government users operating in the Arctic region, including customers in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia and other Arctic regions. Importantly these payloads will also provide KA Gov steerable capacity through service beams and high-capacity steerable beams, complementing military satellite resources, cost effectively, for optimal redundancy, protection, scalability and global portability.

The Arctic Circle represents a rapidly growing connectivity region for high-quality mobile broadband with increasing requirements from government, maritime and aviation customers. The new payloads will improve network performance in very high latitudes by flying directly overhead, providing GX antennas with much higher elevation angles to optimize throughput. The Arctic region satellites will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team. Inmarsat is the only commercial partner to be included as part of Space Norway’s ABSM satellites, which will be built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

Inmarsat’s GX fleet is comprised of four operating satellites (GX1-4) and the company expects to increase that number to seven by mid-2021 with the launch of a further three GX payloads (GX5 and GX6A and B), which are currently under construction and scheduled for launch in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Inmarsat recently announced the addition of a further three GX satellites (GX7, 8 and 9) to the global GX constellation. With the two Arctic satellites announced (GX10A, GX10B), Inmarsat’s aggregate constellation will therefore be comprised of 12 payloads.

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