Inmarsat launches GX satellite in Kazakhstan

The UK’s Inmarsat has successfully launched the third satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network, in Kazakhstan.

A Proton-M rocket, operated by Russian space agency Roscosmos and carrying the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite, was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1144 GMT.

A spokesperson for Roscosmos told local reporters that “the launch went as planned” and that “all systems operated remarkably well”. Separation of the satellite in orbit is expected to take place early on Saturday (August 29).

The new satellite completes the roll-out of Inmarsat’s £1 billion next-generation telecoms network, GX, and will allow the company to offer its customers faster connections at a lower cost.  

“We launched our first satellite over Europe, the Middle East and Africa about a year ago; our Americas satellite comes into operation in about a week; and this third satellite…completes a global seamless network,” Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat CEO, told the BBC.

The success of the launch will be welcome news to both Inmarsat and Roscosmos followed a failed launch in May. The Proton rocked had been struggling with reliability issues, but Russian space officials assured that any problems have been identified and corrected.

From lift-off to separation, the Inmarsat deployment is scheduled to take just over 15 and a half hours, and the GX network itself is expected to come into commercial service at the end of the year.


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