A milestone has been reached in the launch of Inmarsat’s Orchestra network, with the successful activation of a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite payload. The company has been further developing the terrestrial network, and the satellite will strengthen this effort as it will be used to test new concepts and system configurations for Orchestra’s proposed LEO constellation, which will integrate with geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) satellites, and a terrestrial 5G network.
Inmarsat claims that Orchestra will have the highest capacity for mobility worldwide and at hot spots across the world, delivering the fastest average speeds and lowest average latency of any network, both planned or in existence.
While details of the in-orbit testing remain confidential, Inmarsat has confirmed that the LEO demonstration satellite payload is testing concepts for LEO-to-ground and LEO-to-GEO communications. As the LEO satellite features a reprogrammable payload, additional concepts will be tested over the coming months.
Yasrine Ibnyahya, Inmarsat’s senior director, advanced concepts and technologies, said of the launch, “Our demonstration LEO satellite payload is designed to create new technologies and services that will transform the use of satellite communications by our mobility and government customers worldwide. Using software-defined radio payloads in LEO, we are able to test, refine, retest and validate as many concepts as we need. It is a quick, agile and highly economic approach that enables us to meet our ambitious targets for rolling out key components for Inmarsat Orchestra.”