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August 17, 2015

Inmarsat to complete global broadband network in August

Launch date for I-5 F3 set following launch failure.

By Alexander Sword

Inmarsat‘s third Global Xpress satellite will be launched at 12.44 PM on 28 August, completing the world’s first globally available mobile broadband network.

The Inmarsat-5 (I-5) F3 will provide coverage to the Pacific Ocean Region. Originally scheduled for launch on 18 May, it was delayed after the preceding launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome failed.

The latest generation of Inmarsat satellites delivers speeds around 100 times faster than the previous I-4 constellation.

The first Global Xpress satellite, I-5 F1, was launched in December 2013 and began delivering commercial service to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia in July 2014.

This was followed by I-5 F2 on 1 February 2015, covering the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, which will enter commercial service in August.

Boeing, which built the entire generation, has also been commissioned to build a fourth satellite, which will be used either as a back-up or to increase capacity and enhance network coverage.

Inmarsat intends the Global Xpress service to be available by the end of the year.

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Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: "The completion of the Global Xpress constellation will be a significant milestone for our organisation and is fundamental to the delivery of a new era in mobile satellite communications which will change the future for us all.

"We believe that our GX technology will drive innovation and support value-added services and solutions for our government and enterprise customers on land, at sea and in the air; in opportunities as diverse as the merchant maritime, business and commercial aviation, government, energy & resources and enterprise VSAT segments.

"We are particularly pleased that GX will support vital programmes enabling governments to meet the rapidly changing requirements of our world, including the transformation of remote societies that are currently inadequately served by terrestrial networks."

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