Inmarsat plc (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, announces that Inmarsat SA, one of its subsidiary companies, has signed a contract with International Launch Services (ILS) for the launch of three Inmarsat-5 satellites. The launches, scheduled for 2013-14, will use the ILS Proton launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Inmarsat-5 satellites - three state-of-the-art 702HP Ka-band satellites currently being built by Boeing - will form the constellation to support Inmarsat's forthcoming Global Xpress(tm) network. Global Xpress will offer seamless global coverage and deliver unprecedented mobile broadband speeds of up to 50MB/s for users in the government, maritime, enterprise, energy and aeronautical sectors. Inmarsat is investing an estimated amount of US$1.2 billion in the Global Xpress programme, which includes launch costs.
Today's announcement builds on a strong relationship between Inmarsat and ILS. ILS successfully launched Inmarsat's most recent satellite, the third Inmarsat-4, from Baikonur in August 2008.
The Proton vehicle is Russia's premier heavy-lift launcher and is built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the majority owner of ILS and one of the pillars of the Russian space industry. ILS Proton has successfully launched 31 consecutive missions since July 2008 and the Proton vehicle has launched 365 missions since its maiden flight in 1965.
"Selecting a launch services provider is a critical part of realising our Global Xpress vision," said Andrew Sukawaty, Chairman and CEO of Inmarsat. "Our agreement with ILS shows that we are well on track with our aggressive programme for Global Xpress, with service planned to start in 2013. We have partnered with ILS and Khrunichev for previous launches, and look forward to a successful campaign for Inmarsat-5."
Frank McKenna, President of ILS said: "It is exciting to be working with Inmarsat again with these very important ILS Proton launches. Inmarsat has placed an incredible amount of confidence and trust in ILS, Khrunichev and the Proton launch vehicle, to launch the Inmarsat-5 constellation. We look forward to enabling the deployment of their Global Xpress network and serving Inmarsat with outstanding launch services and performance for each of these missions."
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