Inmarsat agrees launch deal for first I-6 satellite

The launch will use the H-IIA launch vehicle The launch will use the H-IIA launch vehicle MHI/JAXA

Inmarsat has announced a deal with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to act as the launch provider for the first satellite in the Inmarsat-6 fleet (I-6 F1), under construction by Airbus Defence and Space and scheduled for launch in 2020.

The I-6 satellites will be Inmarsat’s first to feature dual-payloads, supporting both L-band and Ka-band services. The first satellite in the series will be launched using MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle, the successor to which – the H3 Launch Vehicle – is currently being developed by MHI and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to begin operations in 2020.

“Inmarsat is delighted to select MHI and its H-IIA launch vehicle for the first of our sixth generation satellites,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat.

“Inmarsat is continually seeking to extend and diversify its ecosystem of partners, particularly in the strategically important area of launch providers. We believe that MHI and its H-IIA launch vehicle offers a world-class service.”

“With the development of the new H3 launch vehicle, it is clear that MHI is committed to continuing innovation. These are attributes that we seek in our partners and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with MHI as one of our roster of launch partners.”

Inmarsat says it will make a decision on its launch partner for the second I-6 satellite in due course.

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