Inmarsat agrees deal to develop I-8 generation L-band satellites

Inmarsat has agreed a deal with European aerospace firm SWISSto12 develop its new eighth-generation of spacecraft, which will be used to provide future L-band services.

SWISSto12, headquartered in Switzerland, will use its HummingSat satellite platform, incorporating 3D-printing technologies and Radio-Frequency (RF) and payload products, to develop and manufacture the geostationary I-8 satellites, which will launch by 2026.

Each satellite will be just 1.5 cubic metres in volume and will complement the existing constellation and Inmarsat’s two I-6 generation satellites, which were launched in December 2021 and February 2023 with both Ka-band and L-band payloads.

In March of this year Inmarsat announced the first of the two, I-6 F1, had successfully completed testing with ground stations in Western Australia and has now started to provide Ka-band services for the Asia Pacific region. The company says it will begin introducing its L-band capacity and transitioning services to the new satellite throughout 2023.

The second, I-6 F2, which launched in February 2023, is expected to enter operational service over Europe, Africa, and part of the Americas in early 2024.

Inmarsat’s technology roadmap also includes plans for five new satellite payloads to support its Global Xpress (GX) network, with the launch of the software defined satellites GX 7,8, and 9 aimed for 2025, and the polar coverage satellites GX10a and b scheduled for the first half of 2024.

“Every single day people around the world depend on Inmarsat services. Our customers have demanding, and often safety critical, missions that rely on our satellite technology for links that can make the difference,” said Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat.

“The I-8’s will not only underpin our existing capabilities for the future but enable ever more advanced safety innovations like SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System) that can ultimately help save more lives. We have chosen SWISSto12 because they have the ground-breaking technology that can make it a reality.”

In related news, Inmarsat has also confirmed that it has received unconditional approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for Viasat’s proposed acquisition of the company, following on from similar approval granted by the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this month.

The FCC’s decision leaves the European Commission’s (EC) competition review as the key ongoing regulatory process in relation to the transaction.

Share this story

About the Author

Picture of Rob O'Dwyer
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.

Further Reading

News Archive