[Via Satellite 12-24-2015] Inmarsat has awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to build the first two mobile communications satellites for Inmarsat’s sixth-generation fleet (I-6). The contract, valued in the region of $600 million for construction of the two satellites, will see Airbus deliver the first satellite, Inmarsat 6 F1 (I-6 F1), by 2020.
Inmarsat’s I-6 fleet will feature dual payloads that support L-band and Ka-band services. The operator is using an all-electric design to take advantage of the reduction in fuel mass to pack in a larger payload. Based on the Eurostar E3000e variant, I-6 F1 and F2 will carry a large 9-meter aperture L-band antenna and nine multibeam Ka-band antennas. A new generation modular digital processor will provide full routing flexibility over up to 8,000 channels and dynamic power allocation to more than 200 spot beams in L-band. Ka-band spot beams will be steerable over the full Earth disk, with flexible channel to beam allocation. The satellites will take four to six months to reach orbit, depending on the type of launcher used. Each satellite is designed to remain in service for more than 15 years.
“The new satellites will provide significantly greater L-band capacity and will be capable of supporting a new generation of more advanced services,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat. “The Ka-band co-payload adds depth to the breadth of the unique capabilities of our Global Xpress (GX) constellation, which now spans the world.”
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