Inmarsat’s GX5 satellite, which was successfully launched into orbit on November 26, will deliver Fleet Xpress high-speed maritime broadband services. GX5 the fifth satellite in the Global Xpress (GX) fleet. The satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space, was lifted into orbit by an Ariane 5 launch in Kourou, French Guiana.
GX5 is scheduled to enter commercial service in early 2020 and deliver additional, focused broadband capacity over Europe and the Middle East that will allegedly amount to more than the existing four satellites in the Global Xpress network (GX1-GX4) worldwide combined.
In a recent analysis of maritime customers, Inmarsat established that fast-growing demand for digitalised services saw average data consumption of a merchant ship in mid-2019 reach 270GB per month, compared to 5GB five years ago.
Growth rates among high data use offshore customers is even greater. To match accelerating demand, GX5 will be joined by a further seven advanced GX payloads in the next four years.
Commenting on the launch, Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat, said: “I am delighted to confirm the successful launch of GX5, the next exciting step in the story of Global Xpress, which has already become the gold standard of worldwide mobile satellite broadband. This marks the first of eight launches in the coming four years that will grow our world-leading services to meet rapidly expanding demand, connecting people around the world to reach their full potential. GX5 will also continue to ensure that Inmarsat’s thousands of Global Xpress customers remain at the cutting-edge of global connectivity technologies as their needs evolve.”
Inmarsat Maritime President Ronald Spithout added: “As data use and demand for vessel and crew applications continues to grow, we are already seeing data volumes of more than 1TB [1,000GB] per month per ship. The successful launch of GX5 heralds a major step forward in meeting that demand with capacity for customers in one of our main markets and the next step in Inmarsat’s unrivalled commitment to the future of maritime connectivity.”