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 18 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 19 August.
The satellite is the third in the I-4 constellation, concluding a decade of development and a US$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, chief executive 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 manoeuvres before being positioned in geostationary orbit at 98º West.
Inmarsat satellites are currently relied on by the world's shipping, oil exploration, defence 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.
Mobile broadband coverage of the world will move a step closer with the forthcoming launch of the third and final Inmarsat-4 (I-4) satellite.
The launch is now scheduled for 22:43 UTC on 18 August on board a Proton M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The new date was announced following a short delay caused by a fault discovered during testing of the Proton.
Geostationary orbitThe Proton M will carry the Inmarsat-4 F3 into geostationary orbit at 35,786km (22,240 miles).
Once tested and operational, the I-4 F3 will be provide satellite phone and mobile broadband services to North and South America at 98 degrees west.
And together with its two sister satellites, already in orbit, the completed constellation will deliver full and seamless global coverage for our entire range of broadband mobile satellite services.