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Inmarsat launches second Global Xpress satellite

03 February 2015

The UK satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat yesterday launched the second of its I5 series of spacecraft, BBC reported.

The 7m-long, 6.1-tonne platform shot into orbit on a Proton M rocket, from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

The I5s - there would be four in all and comprise Inmarsat's next-generation constellation called Global Xpress.

And with an investment of 1 billion, they represent the single biggest commercial space project in the UK right now.

The I5-F2 was placed in its super-synchronous transfer orbit at 04:02 GMT yesterday, following a marathon 15-and-a-half-hour journey aboard the Proton and its Breeze upper-stage.

The orbit currently takes the satellite out to a distance of 65,000km from the earth.

The coming days would see the platform use its own propulsion system to circularise this path and bring itself into a "stationary" position some 36,000km above the equator.

The I5-F2 would then be drifted by engineers to its operational station at 55 degrees West to serve customers in the Americas and Atlantic region.

According to Ruy Pinto the chief operations officer at Inmarsat, the satellite had been acquired successfully and all sub-systems had been checked and the first being re-orientation manoeuvre had been completed.

Meanwhile, the coming weeks would see the Inmarsat operations team command the satellite to perform a series of manoeuvres to raise Inmarsat-5 F2 to a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit, while towards the end of the month, the satellite would have completed deployment of its solar arrays and reflectors.

This would be followed by the electrical orbit-raising phase, taking the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit, which was scheduled for completion by the end of March, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of April.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said, ''The successful launch of our second Inmarsat-5 satellite by Proton is a significant step forward on our journey to deliver the world's first globally available, high speed mobile broadband service. Our first GX satellite entered commercial service in July 2014 and has since been delivering an excellent service to our customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. With Inmarsat-5 F3 expected for launch by Proton in the coming months, we are on schedule to achieve full global coverage early in the second half of 2015.''

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