Inmarsat, Astrium Sign Alphasat Contract
[11-26-07 – Satellite Today] Astrium Satellites signed a contract with Inmarsat to develop an Alphasat 1-XL satellite that will support Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, Astrium announced Nov. 23.
Alphasat is a European Space Agency (ESA) initiative to develop a new platform capable of carrying a large communications payload. Inmarsat signed an agreement with ESA in November to become the commercial operator for the Alphasat project. The protoflight model is expected to be delivered in 2009.
Inmarsat expects its investment in the satellite, which is scheduled to be launched in 2012, will be about 260 million euros ($386.1 million). The spacecraft will provide capacity to handle more than 750 channels in L-band and provide mobile services across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Inmarsat said.
“Alphasat will enable us to offer improved services through greater capacity, better quality communications and faster download times to existing and future Inmarsat customers,” Andrew Sukawaty, CEO of Inmarsat, said.
The first Alphasat also will carry three technology demonstration payloads.