Inmarsat expands satellite network with latest launch

Inmarsat has completed the successful launch of its latest I-6 F2 spacecraft from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US. The satellite is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2024, following in-orbit technical testing.  

The satellite will now spend several months travelling to its geostationary orbit at 36,000km above the Equator after the 17 February launch, using its onboard electric propulsion system.

I-6 F2 follows its ‘twin’, I-6 F1, which launched from Japan in late 2021 and is scheduled to begin offering commercial services later this year.

The new I-6 satellites are part of Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA communications network strategy, which aims to create a global, multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network that incorporates geostationary (GEO) satellite connectivity in Ka-band and L-band, combined with low earth orbit (LEO) and terrestrial 5G overlays in traffic hotspots. 

“I want to extend my profound thanks and appreciation to our dedicated employees and partners who have made this launch a reality. Our I-6 programme has been six years in the making,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat.

“Of course, this is not the end. Along with the I-6s, we will add five more advanced spacecraft to our fleet by 2025 as part of our fully funded technology roadmap. That will allow us to continue to meet our customers’ needs into the 2030s and beyond, while enabling new technologies for a smarter, more connected Earth.”

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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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