Inmarsat, the global mobile satellite communications services provider, has confirmed the successful launch of Alphasat, the largest satellite, designated I-4A F4.
Alphasat was launched on an Ariane 5 ECA, the latest version of the Ariane 5 launcher, from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana on 25 July. Arianespace confirmed a successful spacecraft separation at 27 minutes 45 seconds after launch and the Alphasat Mission Operations Team confirmed telemetry reception and that they had command of the satellite.
Inmarsat is the owner and operator of Alphasat, one of the most technically advanced telecommunications satellites ever constructed for civilian applications. With a US$350 million investment from Inmarsat, Alphasat complements the company’s award-winning L-band satellite fleet, which has been powering global broadband connectivity for government and commercial customers on land, sea and in the air since 2009.
Designed and manufactured by Astrium, Alphasat is the largest and most sophisticated European telecommunications satellite ever built. It is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) initiative to provide a new spacecraft platform (Alphabus) capable of carrying a large state of the art communications payload.
Developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space under a joint ESA and CNES contract, Alphabus allows the European space hardware manufacturing industry to address the top end of the telecom satellite market. It is also a showcase of Astrium’s capability in the areas of satellite mobile payloads and on-board digital signal processing, particularly in the UK.
Alphasat is also an example of partnership with industry (Public-Private-Partnership) with the European Space Agency teaming up with Inmarsat to create new services and jobs. It is the largest Public-Private-Partnership space project in Europe.
Inmarsat satellites are currently relied on by the world’s shipping, oil exploration, defence, aviation and media industries, amongst others, to service their communications needs. Inmarsat is also the communications channel of choice for the media when reporting from the world’s danger zones and for NGOs, government agencies and the United Nations when coordinating rescue efforts.
Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Alphasat will strengthen our existing I-4 series satellite constellation, providing coverage over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The launch demonstrates Inmarsat’s long-term commitment to L-band services, and marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Inmarsat’s flagship satellite fleet, bringing new capabilities both in terms of performance and resource availability.