Inmarsat-6 F1 and F2 will be solid fundament for continously developing fleet of modern satellites belonging to Inmarsat.
On 24 December 2015 Airbus Defence and Space announced that it was chosen by Inmarsat, British satellite telecommunications company, as main contractor for designing and manufacturing two new satellites. Inmarsat hopes that two new spacecrafts with launch date planned for 2020, will help in providing more adequate mobile services for demanding customers. Contract worth $600 million is seen by management as an appropriate step towards accelerating the development of the technical potential of the company in future. According to CEO of Inmarsat, Rupert Pearce:
“The Inmarsat-6 constellation confirms our continued commitment to delivering advanced L-band services for decades to come and to maximizing the growth opportunities we see in this spectrum… The Ka-band co-payload adds depth to the breadth of the unique capabilities of our Global Xpress (GX) constellation, which now spans the world. We are confident that demand for GX will deliver incremental revenue opportunities, more than justifying our further investment in extending the capabilities of our Ka-band services.”
Global Xpress (GX) is new constellation developed by Inmarsat since 2011 and operating since 2013. At present it includes three satellites made by Boeing. Fourth satellite (Inmarsat-5 F4 – picture above) developed under contract with Boeing is still under completing and will be launched in the end of 2016. GX will provide wide range of communication services for vessels, airline passengers and streaming high-resolution video and data transmitting.
Inmarsat-6 F1 and F2 will be developed by Airbus Defence and Space with utilization of Eurostar-3000E bus. Detailed technical specification was not announced but Eurostar-3000E characteristic suggest that Inmarsat-6 will fit with weight in range between 4500 kg and 6000 kg. Operational life will be standard for Eurostar-3000 15 years. Bus is powered by two deployable solar arrays with length between 35 and 45 m and onboard lithium battery. E version will be equipped in 5-kilowatt PPS5000 hall thruster by Snecma. Change of propulsion from standard bi-propellant to electric caused weight reduction of bus for about 40% and resulted in higher payload capacity (more about electric propulsion advantages You can read here !). Satellites will be equipped in large dish antenna with diameter at 9 m for L band transponders and additional nine Ka band antennas.