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Thales Alenia Space Finishes Europasat Construction for Inmarsat IFC Network

By | July 21, 2016

      EAN Europasat Inmarsat Thales

      Thales Alenia Space assembles the communication module of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network satellite
      Photo: Thales Alenia Space/Imag[IN]

      [Via Satellite 07-21-2016] Thales Alenia Space
      has completed the construction, integration and associated sub-system tests of Inmarsat’s Europasat satellite for the European Aviation Network (EAN) In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) solution. The manufacturer finished the satellite on schedule following an extensive two-year build process in Toulouse and Cannes, France. The satellite is now undergoing rigorous system end-to-end testing before it is declared ready for flight in 2017.

      Europasat is half of a joint satellite between Inmarsat and Hellas Sat, with Hellas-Sat’s payload, Hellas Sat 3, carrying 44 Ku-band transponders plus one for Ka-band. Along with the space segment, EAN also leverages an Air-to-Ground (ATG) network across the European Union (EU). Inmarsat partner Deutsche Telekom will operate the ATG LTE network of approximately 300 towers. The satellite has been custom-designed to provide Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) to aircraft flying over dense European routes, exploiting Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland. Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an on–board network communicator.

      “The European Aviation Network … will offer unprecedented high-speed capacity at 75Mbps with near zero latency while flying over Europe, so passengers can enjoy an easy-to-use true broadband experience for internet streaming, gaming and other online services direct to their personal smart devices,” said Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation.

      Over the coming months, the satellite will undergo thermal vacuum, mechanical and acoustic testing to ensure it operates nominally. Once these tests are complete, SpaceX will prepare the satellite for launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The launch, originally envisioned for 2016, is now scheduled to take place in 2017.