Following a 24-hour delay because of unfavourable weather conditions over the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, Inmarsat has confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network that delivers the GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) in-flight broadband services.
GX5 satellite is the 161st satellite manufactured by Thales Alenia Space launched by Arianespace, and will bring additional, focused capacity over the congested Europe and the Middle East market to meet growing demand for high-speed passenger Wi-Fi.
Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “The successful launch of GX5 represents a pivotal moment in the development of GX Aviation and Jet ConneX. This next generation satellite will deliver more capacity to Europe and the Middle East than the combined entire existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4) does worldwide, ensuring that Inmarsat’s aviation customers remain at the cutting-edge of passenger connectivity technologies as their needs evolve.
“The launch of GX5 also marks the start of our ambitious development roadmap for the GX network, with seven additional satellites being launched in the coming four years. This will cement our ability to provide gold standard connectivity to the airline and business aviation markets, meeting fast-growing demand throughout the world for decades to come.”
The launch teams from Inmarsat and Thales Alenia Space will now deploy the satellite’s solar panels and antenna reflectors while raising its orbit to geostationary altitude (approximately 36,000 km above the Earth). They will then carry out rigorous testing and calibration before the spacecraft enters commercial service.