The Inmarsat-5 F2 was on board an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton Breeze M rocket which left the launchpad yesterday at 12.31 GMT. It was acquired by Inmarsat’s ground station in Paumalu, Hawaii, at 18:10 GMT, with ILS confirming a successful spacecraft separation at 04:02 GMT this morning, February 2.
The Boeing-built satellite will be placed in a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit over the coming weeks, with its solar arrays and reflectors deployed by the end of the month. By the end of March, the F2 will be guided to its final geostationary orbit by the electrical orbit-raising phase, at which point testing of the satellite’s payload can begin.
The F2 is the second of three satellites that will form the backbone of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band satellite service. When the third and final GX satellite enters commercial operation, due to take place early in the second half of 2015, global GX coverage will be in place. Inmarsat should then be in position to start delivering services using the GX network’s capability, such as its Fleet Xpress service for the maritime market.
“The successful launch of our second Inmarsat-5 satellite by Proton is a significant step forward on our journey to deliver the world’s first globally available, high speed mobile broadband service,” said Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce.
“Our first GX satellite entered commercial service in July 2014 and has since been delivering an excellent service to our customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. With Inmarsat-5 F3 expected for launch by Proton in the coming months, we are on schedule to achieve full global coverage early in the second half of 2015.”
“This is a great achievement and I would like to pay tribute to the skill and expertise of Inmarsat’s engineering teams and all our employees involved in the design, development, manufacturing, testing and launch. It is their dedication, alongside the outstanding support we have received from our manufacturing and launch partners – Boeing and ILS – which has helped deliver such a successful outcome.”
The launch of the F2 was significantly delayed following the failure of an unrelated launch using the Proton launch vehicle in May 2014.