Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 per cent) and Leonardo (33 per cent), signed a contract with Inmarsat for the construction of its new communication Global Xpress (GX) satellite. The value of the contract will be approximately $130 million over the three years from 2017 to 2019.

The satellite, which is targeted for launch in 2019, will be a Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS), providing capacity across the Middle East, Europe and the Indian subcontinent. The payload will seamlessly become part of Inmarsat’s existing GX high-speed global broadband network. The combination of latest satellite technology and a focus on areas of high demand, which will drive high capacity utilization, will together result in a very low cost per bit delivered. This new satellite will be based on the flight proven Spacebus B2 enhanced platform and will be fitted with 72 Ka-Band beams. With a specified design life of 16 years, it will weigh less than 4 metric tons at launch and will offer payload power of about 6.8 kW. 

Inmarsat’s decision to construct this GX satellite has been taken following the recent announcement by Qatar Airways to adopt GX Aviation for its In Flight Connectivity (IFC) requirements, taken together with other recent important airline IFC wins in the EMEA region, such as the Deutsche Lufthansa Group and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Inmarsat’s GX service, delivered over the Ka-Band spectrum, is designed and optimized for mobility services.               

“Thales Alenia Space is proud to partner with Inmarsat to create an advanced satellite, which will provide additional capacity to support growing demand for aviation passenger Wi-Fi services across the EMEA and Indian subcontinent. The global, mobile broadband satellite network operated by Inmarsat incorporates satellites with the latest very high throughput satellite technology. With this new satellite, Inmarsat will broaden its footprint, deliver significant resources for broadband services and set a new benchmark for flexibility in high throughput satellites”, said Bertrand Maureau, Vice President Telecommunication Business Line.