Inmarsat-4 satellite launches successfully

The leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, Inmarsat, announces that its latest satellite is now orbiting the region.

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By  Shankar Sharma Published  March 21, 2005

Inmarsat Ltd. – the world’s foremost mobile satellite communications provider – confirms that its first Inmarsat-4 satellite has been launched successfully. Orbiting the Indian Ocean, and covering the Middle East region within that, the six-ton 20metre-tall satellite will deliver a 3G-compatible broadband data service to mobile users. In addition, the new launch heralds a significant breakthrough in the company’s plan to launch a new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service later this year. BGAN will, according to Inmarsat’s Chief Operation Officer Michael Butler, cement the company’s leader status for “the next decade and-a-half.” BGAN is an internet protocol (IP) and circuit-switched service that will offer voice telephony and a sophisticated range of high-bandwith services. These include internet access, videoconferencing, local area network (LAN) and other services: all at speeds of up to 432kbit/s. The satellite is 60 times more powerful and possesses 20 times greater capacity than its predecessors: the Inmarsat-3 satellites. It is designed to offer greater mobility and functionality – particularly for government, media, maritime, aviation, and international aid organisations. Built by EADS Astrium, it is part of a US$1.5 billion, eight-year development of Inmarsat’s next-generation satellite network. International Launch Services, using an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA, carried out the launch. “The world has just got a little smaller,” explains Andrew Sukawaty, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of Inmarsat. “We have created communications history,” he adds. “The satellite is one of the largest and most powerful commercial satellites ever launched, and will deliver unprecedented data speeds for a mobile satellite communications service.” In addition to covering the Middle East region, Inmarsat-4’s scope encompasses Africa, central Europe, the Indian sub-continent, most of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Western Australia. The company recognises that this region is of strategic and commercial importance. A second Inmarsat-4 satellite, which will be located over the Atlantic Ocean and cover the Americas, is intended for launch in the third quarter of 2005.

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