Inmarsat signs contract to launch EAN satellite with Arianespace

Thales Alenia Space assembles the communication module of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network satellite being launched by Arianespace.
Thales Alenia Space assembles the communication module of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network satellite.

Inmarsat has signed a contract with Arianespace to launch its S-band satellite for the European Aviation Network (EAN) on an Ariane 5 heavy lift launch vehicle.

The EAN payload is part of a ‘condosat’ constructed by Thales Alenia Space, which incorporates a second payload for Hellas-Sat. The condosat is scheduled to be launched from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in mid-2017.

The condosat was originally scheduled for launch with SpaceX. However, following the delay in SpaceX’s launch schedule, Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat took the decision to move the condosat to an Arianespace launch.

Inmarsat will launch Inmarsat-5 F4, a Global Xpress (GX) satellite, with SpaceX. This launch is planned for the first half of 2017 and Inmarsat says it is looking forward to continuing to work with SpaceX going forward.

Michele Franci, CTO, Inmarsat, said: “We are delighted with the flexibility that Arianespace has shown in being able to provide a launch slot that enables us to place our European Aviation Network S-band satellite in orbit by mid-2017.

“This launch schedule supports the introduction of our ground-breaking integrated satellite and air-to-ground network, developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom, which will deliver a very high capacity broadband Wi-Fi experience for passengers flying throughout Europe.”

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