The GX satellite will provide additional capacity to support growing aviation passenger Wi-Fi services across the Middle East, Europe and Indian subcontinent.
Thales Alenia Space, the Franco-Italian joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has signed a contract with Inmarsat for the construction of its new Global Xpress (GX) communication satellite. The value of the contract will be approximately $130m over the three years 2017 to 2019.
The satellite, which is targeted for launch in 2019, will be a Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS), providing capacity to support growing demand for aviation passenger Wi-Fi services across the Middle East, Europe and the Indian subcontinent. The payload will 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 utilisation, will result in a very low cost per bit delivered. This 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 6.8kW.
Inmarsat’s decision to build this GX satellite was taken following Qatar Airways’ recent adoption of GX Aviation for its In Flight Connectivity (IFC) requirements, along with other airline IFC announcements in the EMEA region, such as Lufthansa and Norwegian Air Shuttle.