Inmarsat-5 F1 (I-5 F1), the first satellite in the Global Xpress (GX) network, has been launched onboard a Proton Breeze-M rocket from Kazakhstan.
The launch vehicle blasted off from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 12:12 UTC on 10 Dec. 2013.
The first telemetry signal was acquired by our Paumalu ground station in Hawaii at 17:48 UTC, putting the satellite under the control of Inmarsat’s mission operations team.
Launch provider ILS confirmed a successful spacecraft separation at 03:43 UTC today – with I-5 F1 placed precisely into a super-synchronous transfer orbit.
“The successful launch of this first Inmarsat-5 satellite is a major landmark on our journey to deliver the world’s first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service. We are on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014,” says Inmarsat’s Chief Executive Officer Rupert Pearce. “The Inmarsat-5 generation is, by some distance, the fastest satellite development programme in our history. This is an extraordinary achievement and I would like to pay tribute to the skill and expertise of Inmarsat’s engineering teams and all our employees involved in the design, development, manufacturing, testing and launch.”
Inmarsat’s satellite controllers will now command I-5 F1 to perform seven chemical burns in order to reach a geosynchronous elliptical orbit.
By the end of December, the satellite will have completed deployment of its 33.8-metre (111-foot) solar arrays and reflectors and will be drawing power from the Sun.
The electrical orbit-raising phase – taking the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit – is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of February.
The I-5 satellites will power Inmarsat’s new Ka-band Global Xpress network, offering high-speed mobile and fixed broadband services around the world at speeds of up to 50Mbps.
Part of a US$1.6 billion programme commitment by Inmarsat, this will be the first time a commercial operator has utilised Ka-band radio frequencies to deliver a global satellite service.