Inmarsat conducts first LEO satellite tests

Inmarsat has taken the first step into its introduction of low earth orbit (LEO) satellite services with the successful activation of a LEO payload in space for testing, a key component in the company’s planned ORCHESTRA hybrid network.

The satellite is testing system configurations for ORCHESTRA’s proposed LEO constellation, which will combine with geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) satellites, and a terrestrial 5G network, to deliver a single integrated connectivity service.

While details of the in-orbit testing have not been disclosed, Inmarsat has confirmed that the LEO demonstration satellite payload is testing LEO-to-ground and LEO-to-GEO communications concepts.  As the LEO satellite features a reprogrammable software defined radio payload, additional concepts can be tested over the coming months, the company says.

 “Customers have expressed great excitement about Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA network, and we are making fast progress to bring that network to reality. Development of the terrestrial network is proceeding well, and we are now moving forward with live tests of ORCHESTRA’s LEO layer,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat.

“Our vision for ORCHESTRA is a network that uses the right technology for the right purpose. We are not beholden to a single approach and believe that the best way to meet customer needs is a multidimensional approach that includes GEO, LEO and terrestrial 5G in a dynamic mesh that brings capacity to where it is needed in the most efficient way possible.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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