Satellite communications operator, Inmarsat, has confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network that delivers GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) inflight broadband services. The GX5 satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana and is designed to bring additional, focused capacity over Europe and the Middle East to meet growing demand for high-speed passenger wi-fi in the airline and business aviation markets. Indeed the GX5 satellite is expected to deliver more capacity to Europe and the Middle East than the combined entire existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4) does worldwide.
Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, described the successful launch of GX5 as a “pivotal moment” in the development of GX Aviation and Jet ConneX. “The launch of GX5 also marks the start of our ambitious development roadmap for the GX network, with seven additional satellites being launched in the coming four years. This will cement our ability to provide gold standard connectivity to the airline and business aviation markets,” he added.
GX5 was built by Thales Alenia Space and the launch teams from Inmarsat and Thales Alenia Space will now deploy the satellite’s solar panels and antenna reflectors while raising its orbit to geostationary altitude (approximately 36,000km above the Earth). They will then carry out rigorous testing and calibration before the spacecraft enters commercial service.
GX Aviation customers include airlines such as Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines, while JX has been activated on more than 600 business jets.