Inmarsat has announced that the first of its Global Xpress (GX) satellites – designated Inmarsat-5 F1 – has travelled from California to its launch site in Kazakhstan. The 6,100kg spacecraft departed from Los Angeles International Airport on November 9 aboard an Antonov AN-124 heavy transporter and arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on November 11.
The spacecraft was constructed at Boeing’s El Segundo facility in California and is the first of three GX satellites scheduled to be launched by International Launch Services (ILS). Inmarsat-5 F1 is scheduled to be available to support a launch in December from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, located approximately 2,100 km southeast of Moscow, by a Proton Breeze M launch vehicle.
A fourth satellite has recently been ordered from Boeing.
“This is an exciting day for Inmarsat and all our partners,” says Michele Franci, Vice-President of GX Commercial. “Global Xpress is the result of three years of planning. To see the first of our satellites leave California for Kazakhstan highlights that Global Xpress will soon be a reality. For end users on land, at sea and in the air, Global Xpress will mark a step change in their ability to access high-speed broadband services, regardless of where they happen to be.”
Inmarsat’s next generation GX service will be the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband network. The GX fleet is on course to meet its scheduled completion and is currently expected to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014. It will offer a combination of global coverage from a single operator and consistent higher performance of up to 50Mbps.