19th August 2008 – Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has confirmed the successful launch and acquisition of the third Inmarsat-4 satellite.
The satellite was launched on a Proton Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11.43pm BST on 18th August (4.43am 19th August, local time). Inmarsat’s tracking station in Fucino, Italy was able to track the satellite while it was still coupled to the Breeze M launch vehicle. Launch provider ILS confirmed successful spacecraft separation at 8.46am BST on 19th August.
The satellite is the third in the I-4 constellation, concluding a decade of development and a $1.5 billion investment. The current constellation of two Inmarsat-4 satellites delivers mobile broadband services to 85 per cent of the world’s landmass, covering 98 per cent of the world’s population. The third I-4 will complete the global coverage for Inmarsat’s broadband services.
Andrew Sukawaty, CEO and Chairman of Inmarsat, said: “The Inmarsat-4s are the world’s most sophisticated commercial network for mobile voice and data services, and the successful launch of the third I-4 allows us to complete the global coverage for our broadband services. Once the third I-4 is operational, Inmarsat will have the only fully-funded next-generation network for mobile satellite services.”
The Proton Breeze M is one of the few launch vehicles capable of lifting the I-4 satellite – the size of a London double-decker bus and weighing six tons – into geostationary transfer orbit. The I-4 F3 satellite will now undergo a period of deployment and several weeks of comprehensive tests and maneuvers before being positioned in geostationary orbit at 98º West.
Inmarsat satellites are currently relied on by the world’s shipping, oil exploration, defense and aviation industries 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.