This Friday will see the launch of Inmarsat’s GX5 satellite

Leading inflight connectivity specialist Inmarsat has announced the date for the launch of its much anticipated GX5 satellite. Slated for launch on Friday, 22nd November, the payload will deploy from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The window for the launch timing is between 21:08 and 22:43 UTC.

GX is ready to go on Friday. Photo; Inmarsat

Details of the launch

GX5 will launch on Friday from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The expected mission time of the rocket is 34 minutes and 14 seconds, with separation occurring at approximately 34 minutes 7 seconds after launch. The mass of the GX5 launch is estimated to be some 4,000kg.

Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat commented in a press release,

“GX5 represents a further leap forward technologically and will deliver significantly more capacity to customers in Europe and the Middle East. Together with our partners at Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace, we look forward to the launch from Kourou, marking the completion of an exemplary technology partnership between our companies as well as the beginning of a new era for the world’s only globally-available, true mobile broadband service.”

The launch will be conducted using an Ariana 5 heavy lift launcher, which will take it into geostationary transfer orbit. The satellite will then be maneuvered into its position some 22,236 miles above Earth.

GX5 is a hotly anticipated addition to Inmarsat’s fleet. The Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS) is based on the Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000 B2 platform. Inmarsat estimates that, on its own, GX5 will deliver more capacity than its entire existing fleet (GX1 to GX4).

The satellite features 72 Ka-band fixed spot beam antennas for both receiving and transmitting. Its five-meter long body connects to a solar array with a wingspan of 33 meters, equipped with three panels of triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells to power the unit. Once in orbit, GX5 has an anticipated mission lifespan of 16 years.

Those keen to follow all the action can see the launch livestreamed on the Inmarsat website here.

The first of eight

Of course, GX5 is just the first of the Inmarsat next gen satellites scheduled for launch. A further seven payloads will be deployed over the next four years, each with a specific role in developing the GX network. Hadinger further commented,

“All of us at Inmarsat are excited at the prospect of the launch of GX5 next week, an important step in the continued expansion of the Global Xpress network as the first of eight advanced GX payloads to launch over the next four years.”

Next to launch will be GX6A and 6B, designed to speed up communications ready for the forthcoming era of 5G. GX7, 8 and 9 are anticipated for launch in the first half of 2023, with Airbus tasked with manufacturing these three next gen satellites. Finally, GX10A and B will be placed into highly elliptical orbit, giving coverage at very high latitudes, even at the poles.

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