Inmarsat Launches GX5 Next Generation Satellite

Posted: 27th November 2019 | Written by: Naomi Chadderton

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Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in the world-leading Global Xpress (GX) fleet delivering Fleet Xpress high-speed maritime broadband services. The satellite was lifted into orbit by an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from the Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA-3) in Kourou, French Guiana.

Scheduled to enter commercial service in early 2020, GX5 will deliver additional, focused broadband capacity over Europe and the Middle East in response to surging demand for high-capacity broadband from the aviation and maritime sectors. GX5 will deliver more capacity into the region than the existing four satellites in the Global Xpress network (GX1-GX4) combined provide worldwide.

For superyachts, this demand is fuelled largely by growth in streaming services and remote working. Monthly download volumes vary significantly, with the highest demands during June, July and August. From its Fleet Xpress data service, Inmarsat has seen peak usage of 860GB per month on a single superyacht this year, and over 1.3TB per month on a luxury charter yacht. Video, TV and music services combine with internet browsing and Virtual Private Network (VPN) access to account for the majority of download traffic. For upload, bandwidth usage is dominated by storage to the cloud, including iCloud, Amazon and Dropbox, followed by emails.

The satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space and launched by Arianespace at 21.24 UK time on Tuesday 26 November, 2019. Following satellite separation from the rocket at 21:58 UK time on 26 November, telemetry was successfully acquired shortly after separation and the mission is proceeding to plan.

“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,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat. “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.”

In less than four years since launch, Fleet Xpress has established itself as the gold standard for reliable communications across the maritime industries including the superyacht sector.

“As data use and demand for vessel and crew applications continues to grow we are already seeing data volumes of more than 1 terabyte [1,000 gigabytes] per month per superyacht,” said Inmarsat Maritime President Ronald Spithout. “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.”

The further seven GX payloads scheduled to launch over the next four years will further extend Inmarsat’s global leadership in true broadband services, which are supported by the company’s network of world leading technology, manufacturing and channel partners.

Images: Inmarsat

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