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NEW COMMNICATION SATELLITES TO SERVE ARCTIC

Thursday, July 4, 2019 

Inmarsat is to introduce two new satellite payloads dedicated to the Arctic region in a partnership with Space Norway, and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT.

The new Global Xpress (GX) payloads support the growing demand among both commercial and government users for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile broadband services in the Arctic. They specifically address rising demand for high-speed mobile broadband Fleet Xpress service capability from the merchant shipping, cruise and fishing sectors, where high-speed broadband connectivity is driving both major operational and efficiency improvements and supporting the introduction of new business models.

The new GX Arctic payloads will improve network performance in very high latitudes by flying directly overhead, providing GX antennas with much higher elevation angles to optimise throughput. The demand is driven by offshore eploration, fishing, increased use of northern latitudes by mercant shipping and the growth in expedition cruising.

The Arctic region satellites will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team.  Inmarsat is the only commercial partner to be included as part of Space Norway’s ABSM satellites, which will be built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. The new GX Arctic payloads (GX10A & 10B) will be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbits (HEO), ensuring continuous coverage above 65º North and will have the ability to direct capacity in real-time to the areas of highest demand.

Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime said: “I would like to thank Space Norway for providing this opportunity to deliver dedicated GX capacity in the Arctic region.  Norway has been a strong, strategic partner for Inmarsat over many years.  It is the home to one of our most advanced research and development centres, located at the Norwegian Maritime Competence Center (NMCC) based in Ålesund, which is part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology campus.  Today’s announcement with Space Norway is a further example of the strength of this relationship.

Jostein Rønnerberg, CEO of Space Norway said: “In close collaboration with Inmarsat and government partners we are about to get in place a strategically important capacity for all those currently operating in the Arctic without access to broadband capabilities. Our focus is on the users – fishermen, researchers, rescue personnel, coast guard, military and others.  We are proud to join forces with Inmarsat and we are confident that this collaboration will be welcomed by those operating in the High North”.

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