Global Mobile Satcom


Inmarsat CEO Andrew Sukawaty said it best:

The Inmarsat-4s are the world’s most sophisticated commercial network for mobile voice and data services, and the successful launch of the third I-4 allows us to complete the global coverage for our broadband services. Once the third I-4 is operational, Inmarsat will have the only fully-funded next-generation network for mobile satellite services.

Very cool mission: complete global coverage from 3 satellites, for land, air or sea.  Oh, and so many spot beams:

Each I-4 can generate 19 wide beams and more than 200 narrow spot beams. These can quickly be reconfigured and focused anywhere on Earth to provide extra capacity where needed.



A spacecraft this powerful is a biggie:

Each satellite can digitally form more than 200 spot beams. More power and spectrum can be allocated to certain beams to cope with the fluctuations in traffic. An on-board digital signal processor routes the signals to the different beams, acting like a switchboard in the sky: any signal uplink can be routed to any mobile downlink beam and vice versa.

All three satellites are identical and interchangeable – their coverage is programmable and can be reconfigured in orbit. They are based on the E3000 version of Astrium’s outstandly successful Eurostar satellite platform series, and equipped with electric propulsion system. Their 45m-long solar array generates 14 kW of electrical power at beginning of life and the spacecraft weighs approximately 5,950 kg at launch. The main body is 7 metres high and the unfurlable antenna reflector has a diameter of about 10 metres.

Here’s the launch video: