First rocket blasts off
Yachtsmen who want to send sailing selfies via video link, download chart updates, or get the latest synoptic charts will be able to do so in double quick time by the end of the coming cruising season.
Inmarsat have launched the first of their Inmarsat-5 satellites to bring high-speed mobile broadband service. The rocket blasted off from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and the first telemetry signal was acquired soon after by Inmarsat’s Paumalu ground station in Hawaii, putting the satellite under the control of Inmarsat’s mission operations team.
“The successful launch of this first Inmarsat-5 satellite is a major landmark on our journey to deliver the world’s first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service. We are on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014,” said Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s Chief Executive Officer.
The electrical orbit-raising phase – taking the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit – is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2014, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of February.
The I-5 satellites will power Inmarsat’s new Ka-band Global Xpress network, offering high-speed mobile and fixed broadband services around the world at speeds of up to 50Mbps. Part of a US$1.6 billion programme commitment by Inmarsat, this will be the first time a commercial operator has utilised Ka-band radio frequencies to deliver a global satellite service.