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INMARSAT TO TRIPLE NUMBER OF Ka-BAND SATELLITES

Friday, August 9, 2019 

Inmarsat has revealed plans to triple the number of satellites servicing its flagship Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) network, the high-capacity VSAT constellation behind its Fleet Xpress high-speed mobile broadband service, by 2023 to meet increasing user demand, including the Arctic region.

Inmarsat’s GX fleet currently comprises four satellites (GX1-4). The initial launches, the first of which is scheduled for this year, will see it augmented by three GX payloads (GX5, GX6A and GX6B) by 2021. A further three satellites (GX7-9) will launch by the end of 2023, while two more (GX10A and GX10B) are due for launch in 2022 to provide unprecedented coverage of the Arctic region.

Inmarsat's move targets mainly the increasing number of expedition vessels, superyachts and megayachts transiting the more regions. The extended GX network and transformed Fleet Xpress capacity will meet demand for global bandwidth.

GX5, GX6A and GX6B will increase capacity in high-traffic areas, with GX5 servicing growing demand in the EMEA region. GX6A and GX6B feature both L-band and Ka-band payloads, supporting capabilities for the 5G era, from advanced global safety and low-cost mobile services to high-definition streaming.

GX7, GX8 and GX9 will deliver around twice the capacity of the current GX network, through dynamic beamforming, which can create multiple beams of different sizes, bandwidth and power, each of which can be repositioned in real time to track demand. The technology allocates bandwidth to users as required and is backwards-compatible with existing terminals.

The GX10A and GX10B satellites will be launched into a highly elliptical orbit (HEO), to provide continuous coverage of the northern polar region above latitude 65°N.

Peter Broadhurst, SVP Yachting and Passenger, Inmarsat said: “The investment in the new satellites represents the latest milestone for Fleet Xpress, ensuring a significant advancement in the global capabilities, capacity and agility of the service for current and future Inmarsat customers. We are committed to staying ahead of our customers’ demands and providing the connectivity needed by superyacht and expedition cruise owners and operators now and into the future.”

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