A second Airbus-built Inmarsat-6 geostationary telecommunications satellite (I-6 F2) has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The satellite was carried across the Atlantic Ocean on an Airbus Beluga ahead of it being launched in February 2023, the French aerospace giant announced.
The satellite is based on Airbus’ “ultra-reliable Eurostar E3000 spacecraft”, the manufacturer said, and after it gets airborne will be the ninth Eurostar in orbit that is equipped with electric propulsion for orbit raising and is scheduled to enter service in early 2024.
“I-6 F2, with its sophisticated digitally processed payload, will join Inmarsat-6 F1 (I-6 F1) in orbit giving Inmarsat even more flexibility, capability and capacity,” said François Gaullier, head of telecommunications & navigation Systems at Airbus.
The first such satellite was launched in late 2021 and is due to enter service in 2023. The development of the satellites has been backed financially by the European Union and by national governments, including the UK’s. The satellites are the “next step” in plans for Inmarsat Orchestra, the world’s first “multi-dimensional network”.
“This is the 10th geo-telecommunications satellite we have built for our long-term customer Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communication services, and with I-6 F1 the satellites will enable a step change in the capabilities and capacity for their ELERA services, and deliver significant additional capacity for their Global Xpress network,” Gaullier said.