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Inmarsat secures deal with Airbus for new GX satellites

Inmarsat has selected Airbus Defence & Space to manufacture three next-generation GX satellites (GX7, 8 & 9), with the first scheduled to launch in the first half of 2023.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The new geostationary satellites will provide the platform for a transformational upgrade in Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress with the new partnership expected to provide a step-change in GX’s capabilities, capacity and agility.

The new satellite programme is expected to transform Inmarsat’s global network, providing enhanced agility in space segment deployment, as well as greater ability to adopt and integrate future technology innovation and disruption to the GX product line.

This network development encompasses a major enhancement to the GX ground network, which will deliver full integration of each generation of GX satellites to form a highly-secure, inter-operable, ultra-high performance network. Future GX satellites offering new capabilities can easily be added to this dynamic framework whenever and wherever demand dictates. The network will also be able to benefit from future technology innovation.

According to Inmarsat, the new GX technology will be compatible with existing terminals, allowing Inmarsat customers to benefit from this and future service enhancements. Inmarsat will also provide regular upgrades to the GX network capabilities and features.

The Airbus production line approach benefits from accelerated satellite deployment capability. This capability, together with Inmarsat’s well-established GX customer base, is expected to ensure that new capacity can be quickly and accurately matched to demand, leading to a better outcome for customers and a lower risk infrastructure investment programme. 

“On its launch in 2010, Global Xpress revolutionised satellite telecommunications and, even in 2019, GX remains the world’s only truly seamless global mobile broadband network. As such, I am delighted today to announce the next steps in GX’s development, in partnership with Airbus, which will ensure that our customers continue to benefit from GX’s ground-breaking technology and capabilities for many years to come,” said Rupert Pearce, chief executive officer, Inmarsat.

“Worldwide demand for mobile broadband connectivity has grown exponentially in recent years and we expect this trend to continue. This next phase in the evolution of our GX network provides a dynamic and powerful answer to the challenges created by this growth in demand, building on the strong foundations we have already established.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Airbus who have more than risen to the significant strategic and technological challenges we set them. This announcement signals the start of a new long-term strategic partnership.

“GX has rapidly become a very significant and sustained revenue growth contributor for Inmarsat. More importantly, it embodies our strategic, long-term approach to network augmentation as we continue to meet and exceed customer requirements.

Airbus’ head of space systems, Nicolas Chamussy said: “We are launching the Onesat product line for our customer Inmarsat, following the successes of the Airbus-built Inmarsat-4 spacecraft, Alphasat and the Inmarsat-6 satellites, currently under construction. This latest contract continues the long standing innovation relationship between Airbus and Inmarsat. Onesat is a truly disruptive product, both from a manufacturing and operational point of view, which allows Airbus to offer our customer a market enabling solution with reduced cost and time to orbit.{/mprestriction}

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