SpaceX launches second Inmarsat I-6 satelliteWritten by Marine Log Staff
Satcom giant Inmarsat’s latest I-6 F2 satellite was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, February 17, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch saw I-6 F2 reaching a top speed of almost 40,000 km/h as it left Earth above central Africa. The satellite will now spend several months traveling to its geostationary orbit, 36,000 km above the Equator, using its onboard electric propulsion system. It is scheduled to connect its first customers in 2024, following rigorous in-orbit technical testing.
I-6 F2 follows its “twin,” I-6 F1, which launched from Japan in late 2021.
Built in the U.K. and assembled in Toulouse, France, by Airbus Defence and Space, the Inmarsat I-6 satellites are the most technologically advanced commercial communications satellites ever launched. They are also Inmarsat’s first hybrid satellites, featuring both L-band (ELERA) narrowband and Ka.
The new I-6 satellites add further capabilities to Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA communications network; a global, multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network that will redefine connectivity at scale with the highest capacity for mobility worldwide.
“I want to extend my profound thanks and appreciation to our dedicated employees and partners who have made this launch a reality. Our I-6 program has been six years in the making. Last week’s launch marked another milestone as we revolutionise global communications at scale,” said Inmarsat CEO Rajeev Suri. “Of course, this is not the end. Along with the I-6s, we will add five more advanced spacecraft to our fleet by 2025 as part of our fully funded technology roadmap. That will allow us to continue to meet our customers’ needs into the 2030s and beyond, while enabling new technologies for a smarter, more connected Earth.”