Inmarsat today announced a contract to introduce two new HEO payloads for its Global Xpress (GX) network in partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT, supporting the continued development of its GX Aviation and Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solutions.
The new payloads, GX10A and 10B, will provide Inmarsat’s airline and business aviation customers with even more capacity to meet rapidly-growing demand for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile inflight broadband.
In addition, the satellites will be fully compatible with current and future terminals, ensuring that both existing and new customers will reap the benefits from this latest extension to the network.
Scheduled to launch in 2022, GX10A and 10B will be the first satellites in the GX network to be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), showcasing Inmarsat’s approach to providing customers with connectivity.
“Get Connected” first announced that Inmarsat was looking to extend GX satellite coverage over the Arctic areas with highly elliptical (HEO), and non-GEO, orbits back in April, after talking to Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation.
The HEO satellites are designed to deliver enhanced capacity for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic. They will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team and seamlessly integrate into the GX network.
The contract announcement is another significant milestone in the continued evolution of GX and comes less than a month after Inmarsat’s decision to invest in three new transformational satellites (GX7, 8 and 9) to be built by Airbus Defence & Space.
These will further increase network flexibility and efficiency through multi-beam, high-throughput capacity that can be directed to service areas of high demand, and fully dialled up and down depending on customer needs in the region.
Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Over the past 40 years, Inmarsat has pioneered the latest in cutting-edge satellite innovation, a tradition we are proud to continue with the long-term development of our GX network.
“In the past month alone, we have announced five significant new payloads, raising the bar for industry investment and marking an unprecedented step-change in inflight mobile broadband capabilities for airlines and business aviation.
“We have now committed to a total of eight more payloads that will join the GX network’s four existing satellites starting from later this year. However, GX is much more than just a satellite network, it’s a complete end-to-end solution and we have been equally ambitious in developing our ground stations, hardware, software and cybersecurity framework.
This infrastructure, built specifically for robust and secure mobility, is unique to Inmarsat and will position us as an innovator putting our customer needs at the heart of our business decisions.”
The GX network powers Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation service, which boasts airline customers such as Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Norwegian, Avianca, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Citilink, Garuda and Philippine Airlines.
The network also powers Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight broadband solution, which has already been installed on more than 500 business aviation aircraft across the world.